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Helping girls to protect themselves

Lesotho’s high maternal mortality rate of 1155 per 100,000 live births and high HIV infection rates are cause for concern, said Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, during an official three-day visit to Lesotho this week.

The Regional Director  met Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mohlabi Tsekoa, for a discussion and toured the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) clinic.

Dr. Onabanjo cited teenage pregnancy in Lesotho as a worrying factor and called for education that helps empower young girls to protect themselves. She stressed the need for support leading to results, in terms of changing the lives of people, and the need for activities that lead to outcomes, in terms of improving the lives of beneficiaries.

LPPA is a non-governmental organization that offers services with the support of the European Union and UNFPA’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV Linkages Project. During her visit to LPPA, Chief Executive Officer Mr. Mofokeng Makhetha expressed his gratitude for UNFPA’s support in expanding family planning coverage and skills development, as well as revitalizing life skills-based sexuality education for young people. Young people present during the visit related the factors that lead to unplanned pregnancies, such as alcohol and drug abuse.

Dr. Onabanjo also participated in a two-day retreat with the United Nations Country Team in Lesotho.

Dr. Onabanjo visits young people at the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association.