Health systems in Lesotho
Lesotho’s public spending on health was 9.5 per cent of GDP in 2011, equivalent to US$141 per capita. In the most recent survey, conducted between 1997 and 2010, there were five doctors, and 62 nurses and midwives per 100,000 people.
Additionally, in the period 2007-12, 62 per cent of births were attended by qualified health staff and in 2012, 85 per cent of oneyear olds were immunised with one dose of measles. In 2011, 78 per cent people were using an improved drinking water source and 26 per cent had access to adequate sanitation facilities. The most recent survey, conducted in the period 2000-11, reports that Lesotho has three pharmaceutical personnel per 100,000 people.
Health care services in Lesotho are delivered primarily by the government and the Christian Health Association of Lesotho. Access to health services is difficult for many people, especially in rural areas. The country’s health system is challenged by the relentless increase of the burden of disease brought about by HIV/AIDS, and a lack of expertise and human resources. Serious emergencies are often referred to neighbouring South Africa. A new hospital, the Queen Mamohato Memorial, opened in 2011 replacing Queen Elizabeth II Hospital as the country’s only referral hospital. This hospital – a public-private partnership – is managed by a consortium led by a South African private health care provider (Netcare). As there is no local pharmaceutical manufacturing, all pharmaceuticals are imported (2011).
The most recent act of parliament relating to mental health in Lesotho is the Mental Health Law (1964). There are 0.5 mental health outpatient facilities and 2.9 beds in psychiatric hospitals (2011).