MCC partner countries are responsible for identifying the greatest barriers to their own development, and some have recognized the need to fight HIV/AIDS, treat its effects or improve general health as part of their national development strategy. MCC supports these goals through several programs:
The $122.4 million Health Sector Project that is a part of MCC’s compact with Lesotho is aimed at strengthening the delivery of essential health services to address HIV/AIDS and other diseases by improving the country’s health-care infrastructure and human resources for health capacity. MCC funding is designed to support Lesotho’s efforts to significantly increase access to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) by providing a sustainable delivery platform for these life-extending medicines and other essential health services throughout the country. Project efforts are closely coordinated with HIV/AIDS activities funded through the U.S. Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The Health Sector Project is designed to support treatment for HIV/AIDS and benefit the people of Lesotho through:
- the establishment of ART clinics in and improved management of as many as 14 hospital outpatient departments;
- the renovation of as many as 150 health centers to meet uniform service standards;
- the construction of a dedicated, central facility for collecting and processing blood and the provision of mobile blood collection and storage equipment;
- an increase in the number of dormitories and staff residences at Lesotho’s National Health Training College;
- the construction and equipping of a new central laboratory and training for laboratory staff;
- the strengthening of health systems through increased capacity for pre-service and in-service nurse training and improved district-level public health human resources management; and
- improved occupational health and safety and medical waste management practices.
The Health Sector Project, one-third of compact funding in Lesotho, has the potential to help people with HIV/AIDS and other debilitating diseases live longer and improve their quality of life. In turn, they will be able to more productively contribute to Lesotho’s economic growth and poverty reduction.
HIV/AIDS Awareness Programs
Contractors engaged in building MCC-funded civil works projects are often required to carry out HIV/AIDS awareness efforts for their workers and local communities. For example, Millennium Challenge Account-Cape Verde worked with the Cape Verde National Committee to Fight HIV/AIDS to develop an awareness campaign that the contractors building roads, bridges and the port must implement during construction. The construction workers and local community members have access to informational sessions, free and voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and follow-up counseling.
These program requirements are a common component of civil works contracts in MCC compact countries, especially for construction and road activities in rural areas and in regions where the risk of increased transmission of HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections is high. Migrant laborers and local residents in the impacted communities benefit from these HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns.