Baylor-Lesotho Commemorates World AIDS Day!
Last week, Baylor-Lesotho commemorated World AIDS Day through a variety of events across the nation. From artwork by our youngest patients to Fun Walks through the mountains, Baylor-Lesotho showed the many ways we have our “Hands Up for HIV Prevention.”
In Maseru, Baylor-Lesotho staff supported events held by the National AIDS Commission (NAC), including the World AIDS Day Business Breakfast on November 30th. The following day, Baylor-Lesotho participated in the NAC’s World AIDS Day commemorative ceremony, organizing children to create a human chain to form an AIDS ribbon onstage as part of the ceremony, and showcasing the “Blossoming Life” flower made by one of our young adult clients at the Baylor-Lesotho booth outside the auditorium.
Meanwhile, staff joined eight members of the Wise Ones Youth group, all 18-24 year old Baylor clients, for an awareness-raising event in Maseru. The team spent Thursday at Pioneer Mall in the center of Maseru, talking to passersby about HIV/AIDS and handing out red ribbons. Hundreds of shoppers, young and old, stopped to get a ribbon and have their questions about HIV/AIDS answered by our dynamic youths. Across the country, the staff of the Satellite Centre of Excellence (SCOE) in Qacha’s Nek participated in a Fun Walk to raise awareness of HIV.
The commemorations continued in the beautiful mountains of Mokhotlong on December 2nd, when the Mokhotlong SCOE hosted a hugely successful event in collaboration with Touching Tiny Lives (TTL) and Sentebale. To start the day, forty children, all patients of Baylor and members of Teen Club, went on a one hour-long fun walk around the outskirts of town, accompanied by Baylor-Lesotho staff, district officials, and members of TTL and Sentebale. The crowd then returned to the SCOE to hear talks by Baylor-Lesotho and Sentebale staff members on World AIDS Day. Adults and children alike spent the rest of the morning playing a host of games and activities before sharing lunch. TTL generously donated a hygiene package with various toiletries to each child as they left, and with that, the World AIDS Day event came to a close.
Baylor-Lesotho staff also supported a local clinic in Maseru, Matukeng Health Centre, in hosting World AIDS Day activities on December 2nd. In addition to HIV testing and counseling, participants received nutritional screening, TB screening, blood pressure checks, and other health interventions.
December 1st also marked the 11th anniversary of the opening of the Baylor College of Medicine Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence in Maseru, and as we reflect on the past 11 years and look forward to the ones ahead, we are proud of the critical role our work plays both in HIV prevention and treatment for communities across Lesotho.