Adolescent health campaign in Berea District
In March, Sentebale in partnership with the District Health Management Team from the Lesotho Ministry of Health, hosted an event in the Berea District, North West of Maseru. The aim was to encourage adolescents to take responsibility of their own health issues including HIV. It was hosted through our Letsema programme which is an information gathering and knowledge sharing network within Lesotho and formed part of our outreach work within local communities and particularly with adolescents.
2050 students from 10 schools attended the event. They listened to talks from health professionals as well as attending Q&A sessions about HIV transmission, prevention, the myths surrounding HIV, the benefit of knowing their status and the relationships between HIV and tuberculosis. All students were given the opportunity to receive group counselling and to be tested for HIV; 258 were tested and none came back positive.
In Lesotho, stigma is the biggest barrier to children accessing the care they need to live healthy and happy lives with HIV. It is estimated that 23% of children would shun a friend if they knew they had HIV so events such as this are crucial in encouraging children to talk about their status and address the stigma surrounding HIV.