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Lesotho develops health care system with Finnish THL-led team

19 Feb 2010

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) Finland has started implementing a health sector development project in Lesotho funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, U.S. foreign aid agency.

THL is leading the international consortium which was awarded the consultancy of Health System Strengthening Technical Assistance (HSSTA). The project implementation of HSSTA started in November 2009 and will continue until May 2013. The other partners are the Health System Trust of South Africa and InDevelop-IPM from Sweden. The HSSTA is part of a wider MCC Health Sector Project in Lesotho funded with USD 122 million for the five-year period 2008–2013, which will also include other consultancies in Health Infrastructure Development and Medical Waste Management.

Lesotho is a country challenged by high maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases which burden the health care services. Of the adult population, 23% are HIV positive. The Kingdom of Lesotho suffers from a shortage of human resources for health (HRH) – there are not enough skilled health professionals and managers. This hampers the effective implementation of health sector reforms and the decentralization of health delivery system.

MCC operates in the country level through the Millennium Challenge Account  – Lesotho. MCA – Lesotho is supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) in implementing the ongoing National Health Sector Reform Program. Our team of four long-term key experts together with numerous short-term experts focuses on the national and district level (10 districts). The project concentrates on four key areas: developing human resources capacities and competences (HRCD), supporting the Ministry’s process of decentralization of health services, further developing the Health Management Information System (HMIS), and strengthening the Ministry’s ability to coordinate and oversee health research activities.

- Finnish health care system is highly decentralized giving strong independence to the municipalities. This gives THL a strong background in the decentralization process, says Project Director Timo Sorsa from THL.

THL is a national research and development institute that operates under the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The International Affairs Unit at THL has primary competencies in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating development processes and programs in transitional economies and developing countries. Through the use of its expert services, the team has been involved in over 100 projects in 40 nations worldwide.  THL has thorough experience in similar development processes from Namibia, where THL implemented a broad Finnish-funded health and social sector reform in 1995–2004. MCC finances two health sector projects: in Lesotho and in Mongolia. THL is involved in the implementation of both projects.

More information:

Timo Sorsa
project director
tel. +358 20 6107638
timo.sorsa@thl.fi

Sanna Vesikansa

communications officer
tel. +358 40 5305769
sanna.vesikansa@thl.fi

This press release is also available at www.thl.fi/en/pressreleases. Feedback on the distribution of THL press releases can be sent to info(at)thl.fi.

Updated 19 Feb 2010