Extending our service in Lesotho to tackle COVID-19

Lesotho reported its first case of COVID-19 on 13th May, the last African country to do so. Numbers of cases are are rising and deaths are being reported daily. Two Wheels have been able to help fight the challenge faced by the Lesotho programme with motorcycles, ambulances, training, digital services and additional staff.

Riders for Health Lesotho already provides sample transport services across all of the country’s ten districts mainly focusing on HIV and TB. Now with the outbreak of COVID-19 our services are also needed to transport COVID-19 samples and test results. Rapid testing and diagnosis is essential to prevent spread of this disease. 

“The spread of COVID-19 is alarming for a country like ours. Our population already suffers from a high prevalence of TB and HIV.”

Mahali Hlasa, Programme Director, Riders for Health Lesotho

Sample transport courier, Lesotho.

Our top priority is upgrading our sample transport system for the specific needs of COVID samples. For this we need more cold chain equipment which allows for uninterrupted refrigeration covering storage and transport of samples.

We will soon begin a project with the Ministry of Health, supported by the Canadian government, aiming to contain the disease in Quthing district, a region with a population of over 100 thousand people. This will involve working with health workers to support them in contact tracing and monitoring of quarantine facilities. We will also need to recruit and train additional sample transporters.

“We now need to stretch our service, usually focusing on HIV and TB,  to incorporate the requirements of coronavirus testing, and cover urgently needed monitoring and tracking of the virus pinpoint hotspots and help the government contain the virus.”

Mahali Hlasa, Programme Director, Riders for Health Lesotho

We have received support our partner charity Two Wheels for Life  including eight motorbikes for sample transport, two ambulances for emergency transport of patients from rural areas to health facilities, and funding a temporary member or senior staff to help us maintain our high standards in vehicle maintenance during this difficult time. Sample transport activities continue to be supported jointly by The Ministry of Health, CDC/PEPFAR, Global Fund through Project management Unit (PMU), Two Wheels for Life and International Horse Welfare Organisation.

Riders for Health’s existing countrywide network of sample couriers in Lesotho built by Riders over the last 30 years gives an advantage to the country in tackling a deadly virus like COVID-19. But tackling a new virus with many unknown properties is a huge challenge, and additional resources will continue to be needed to ensure we can help the Lesotho government fight this deadly disease and prevent it from spreading to our vulnerable population.

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Riders extends our service in Lesotho to tackle COVID-19

Lesotho reported its first case of COVID-19 on 13th May, the last African country to do so. But now numbers are rising. Active cases reached 365 on 26 July and a steady number of deaths are being reported daily. Lesotho's borders have now been closed.

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