What We’re Reading: Delivering Health Care by Horseback
September 14, 2010
In Lesotho, there are villages that are tucked away in the kingdom’s many mountain ranges, sometimes wholly inaccessible by car, truck, or motorbike during the winter or the rainy season.
With one of Africa’s highest HIV prevalence rates, Lesotho presents a special challenge of how to reach some of the most remote communities with HIV testing and antiretroviral drugs for mothers, infants, and families.
Photo: Jon Hrusa/EPA
The Foundation has worked with a government health team in the mountainous Mokhotlong District to come up with a local solution to delivering essential health services to these hard-to-reach places. Called Horse-riding for Health, this innovative program uses owners of a special breed of Lesotho horse – known as the Basotho pony – to travel between villages and health centers.
The riders transport blood samples and medicines in a shorter amount of time, allowing the lab to make a more accurate diagnosis to determine who needs HIV treatment. This is particularly important to help prevent pregnant mothers from transmitting the virus to their infants.
The Deutsche Press Agency
chronicled the program, and MSNBC.com
published a blog highlighting the photo essay by a European Pressphoto Agency photographer
who recently followed one Basotho pony rider on his journey into the clouds and back. Visit both sites to read about the people who have been helped, along with some stunning photography from the “Kingdom in the Sky.”
to learn more about the Foundation’s programs in Lesotho, and click here
to read about one young pregnant woman’s experience in Mokhotlong district receiving HIV testing and counseling at a Foundation-supported clinic.
Robert Yule is the Foundation’s Media Manager in Washington, D.C.