The government initiatives related to public health in Lesotho focus on maternal and child health services by eradicating life threatening diseases like HIV/AIDs, Malaria, tuberculosis, etc. The challenge lies in providing high qualityhealth care in the small and landlockednation ofLesotho.
Maternal and Child Health
Thegovernment has taken initiative toimprovematernal and child health along with combatingHIV/AIDs, Malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases. Lesotho is dangerous for pregnant women from conception to delivery and sparse medical facilities make access to proper healthcare difficult. Women in rural Lesotho lack adequate access to health services like HIV testing, antenatal care and delivery of other medical services along with facing geographical, cultural and economic barriers. Traditional birth attendants assist women delivering at home rather than facility-based delivery which are not integrated into health system.
Health System in Lesotho
Primary causes of morbidity and mortality in mother and child is due to pregnancy related complications. Lesothos Ministry of Health and Social Welfare provides counselling services to women during pregnancy and medical care delivery that ensure the health and survival of both the mother and child. The key areas of maternal and child health include delivery care, antenatal, postnatal, childhood vaccination and treatment of common childhood diseases. The Lesotho Government introduced Lesotho Immunisation Expanded Programme and Integrated Management of Childhood Illness strategy. These core integrated interventions provide immunisation guidelines stipulated to fully vaccinate a child and manage important causes of death among children like diarrhoea, acute respiratory infection (ARI), measles, malnutrition and anaemia. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent mortality and morbidity in mother and child. Primary health care workers emphasis on early recognition of signs of complications or impending severity in both mother and child.
The safe delivery of services protects the life and health of the mother and child. Important objective of various programmes is to increase supervised deliveries by health professional, thus reducing health risk to mother and child. Proper medical attention is aimed at delivery under hygienic conditions that reduces the risk of complications and infections post-delivery. Postnatal care enables detection and treatment of complications arising from delivery for the survival of mother and child. To prevent neonatal tetanus which is a principal cause of death among infants, tetanus injections are given during pregnancy. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, women are recommended to avoid alcohol since alcohol consumption affects the health of mother and child by impeding brain development and lower birth weight in babies during pregnancy.
Urban women get better healthcare services in comparison to their rural counterparts. The village health workers identify and accompany pregnant women in early stages to provide prenatal care. Health workers also advise pregnant women to live in maternal waiting homes until childbirth. The health services include prenatal care, ultrasound and doctors check-up to avoid medical complications related to childbirth. Every health centre is entitled to have a maternal waiting home which gives expectant mothers a safe place till childbirth for better maternal and child health. To ensure healthy families, newborns are given free check ups along with immunizations and other healthcare services. Promotion of early antenatal care attendance in Lesotho is necessary to ensure appropriate maternal care by prevention of complications related to pregnancy, delivery and postnatal emergencies in rural and urban areas.
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