The Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative has trained 10 HIV-positive people in Lesotho to help doctors, nurses and pharmacists cope with treating people with HIV/AIDS in a country with a severe shortage of health workers, South Africa’s Independent Online reports.
Lesotho has 40 practicing doctors and a population of 1.8 million people, including an estimated 288,000 HIV-positive people, according to Clinton Foundation Lesotho Director Mphu Ramatlapeng.
The “expert patient” initiative, which the Clinton Foundation launched one year ago, trains patients in tasks such as filing, taking vital signs and counseling patients on how to take their antiretroviral drugs.
The trained patients help ease the pressure on strained HIV/AIDS clinics, Denise Thomas, coordinator of the initiative, said, adding, “Expert patients are morale boosters to clinics. They’re living success stories.”
Expert patients receive a monthly stipend from the foundation and often find the experience “empowering,” the Independent Online reports.
If the program proves successful and more funding can be generated, it might be expanded nationwide and serve as a model for other countries in the region facing health worker shortages (Independent Online, 10/18).
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.