Lesotho: Tackling diabetes and high blood pressure
SolidarMed educates people about their chronic diseases and provides access to treatment.
In Lesotho, too, an increasing number of people suffer from chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, often without even knowing. Awareness, medicines, and training are urgently needed, particularly in remote regions, in order to care for those who are sick and to prevent new cases.
Keyfacts of the project
Aim of the project
To reduce the burden on health systems and society caused by non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
People with chronic diseases and those at high risk of disease in Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong.
Carrying out a study on the prevalence of high blood pressure and diabetes in Lesotho; training medical staff and community health workers; raising public awareness on healthy lifestyle.
Keyfacts of the project
Alarming increase in chronic diseases
Chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are an increasingly common cause of death in Lesotho and hamper social and economic development. To be able to tackle this issue as effectively as possible, SolidarMed collects detailed data on the prevalence of chronic diseases in the population, the number of people affected with and without access to therapy, and the occurrence of complications such as kidney damage.
Adapting the health system to the new reality
Unlike for HIV, diagnosis and treatment possibilities for non-communicable diseases are lacking in many parts of Lesotho. Drugs and therapies are rarely available and are very expensive, and health workers are lacking the latest knowledge and equipment. SolidarMed therefore trains health workers, gets treatment guidelines modified and helps healthcare facilities procure medical equipment and drugs.
Community health workers: a tried and tested approach
The work of community health workers has proven very effective in tackling the HIV epidemic. SolidarMed is now testing various ways that community health workers could deliver medical care and carry out prevention work in the longer term for non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In the pilot trial between 2022 and 2025, more than 100 community health workers are travelling around Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong to educate people in their homes, offer testing, and if necessary provide access to treatment. This reaches people in remote communities, while also providing valuable insights into the control of non-communicable diseases.
The ComBaCaL research project
ComBaCaL stands for ‘Community-Based Chronic Care Lesotho’. In this area, SolidarMed works with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), the Lesotho Ministry of Health, the University of Zurich, and the National University of Lesotho. The aim is to generate knowledge and test various ways of tackling the rise in non-communicable diseases in Lesotho.