Leading by Example: An Encouraging Circle of Support for PLHIV in Lesotho

March 2016  | Lesotho

Success Story: Leading by Example: An Encouraging Circle of Support for PLHIV in Lesotho (PDF)

In Mohale’s Hoek District, where the prevalence rate is 24%, LIFT II has developed simple referral tools (mostly paper-based) to connect people living with HIV (PLHIV) from two rural facilities, Mpharane Clinic and Liphiring Clinic, to village savings and loan associations near their homes. VSLAs allow members to pool saved funds over time which are then distributed in need of urgent support and/or paid out at the end of each savings cycle. Given widely acknowledged barriers to ART adherence, such as lack of resources for transport to facilities or limited food available to eat while taking the potent medications, these community-based savings outlets can augment PLHIV confidence, reduce stigma, and increase their ability to overcome other obstacles to adherence. At Mpharane Clinic, Masekake Mpili Mkito is a Lay Counselor who has passionately advocated for and spread awareness on the clinic-to-VSLA referral work LIFT II has helped facilitate. As an HIV+ person herself, she recognizes the importance of ART and has seen first-hand how economic strengthening support via savings groups can help alleviate common stressors clients face when forced to choose how to prioritize limited resources to meet their own needs and those of their families.