The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director for East and Southern Africa has expressed sadness and support to the government of Lesotho for lives lost due to COVID 19.
Dr Julitta Onabanjo said they are aware that this pandemic caused disruptions on the economy and progress on the reforms however acknowledged the suffering and good efforts the country has made such as the vaccine roll-out, saying it is impressive and encourage expansion of the vaccination coverage especially for health care workers and most vulnerable.
She applauded Lesotho for its participation in the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, stating that it was an opportunity to recommit to the unfinished agenda of rights and choices and also to frame that within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a decade of action that is needed to ensure that the world including member states move forward on that development vision.
Dr Onabanjo expressed concern about the maternal mortality rate in Lesotho, adding that Lesotho cannot achieve economic growth or sustainable development if they continue to lose those lives of women due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
UNFPA Representative to Lesotho, Dr Marc Derveeuw acknowledged all the good work done by all the implementing partners particularly the Ministry of Development Planning for assisting and strengthening the UNFPA program and fulfilling its mandate in a continuous way especially because 2020 was not a normal year.
“We were able to step up our budgets and the amount of funds we gave to the Ministry of Health enabled them to free more funds to address issues related to COVID19. We were also able to step up our programs to address gender-based violence, drawing attention initially to violence happening at border posts when young women were coming back from South Africa trying to cross legally and sometimes illegally,” he added.
He noted that they are fortunate to have received additional funds from the Chinese government which will be rolled out in 2021 with a focus on helping the government in the prevention of COVID19 infections with a special focus on midwives.
UNFPA strives for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Source: LENA 30/03/2021