An innovative program between the department of family medicine and the Lesotho Ministry of Health is being honored today by the United Nations (UN) at the annual meeting of the Friends of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
The program, the Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance (LeBoHA), is designed to allow students from Lesotho, South Africa, who complete medical school abroad, to return to their home country to complete their residency and remain there. The goal is to improve the physician-patient ratio for Lesotho and train leaders for public health infrastructure.
The honor, the 2022 UN Interagency Task Force and the World Health Organization (WHO) Special Programme on Primary Health Care Award, is in recognition of LeBoHA’s achievements on strengthening Lesotho’s health system by providing context-specific primary health-care training for healthcare providers at the community level.
The award is in recognition of the LeBoHA’s role in providing an exemplary platform for primary health-care professionals to collaborate and jointly strengthen action across Europe, including advocating for ever stronger, fairer and equitable primary care. This year the Task Force is joining forces with the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care, with the Awards Scheme being expanded to recognize work in primary care for the prevention and control of Non-communicable Diseases.
“I are humbled by this honor,” said Brian Jack, MD, professor of family medicine and director of the LeBoHA. “I would like to thank all of our members who made this award possible and who continue to work to make our program an example for health-care delivery in low-income countries.”
The partnership between the department of family medicine and Ministry of Health of Lesotho, South Africa, began in 2003 and has resulted in the development of an innovative family medicine residency program in Lesotho, which is now fully accredited, self-sustaining and directed by one of the program’s graduates. This residency was designed to allow people from Lesotho, who must leave the country for medical school, to return for residency training and to stay in their community. All program graduates have remained in Lesotho to practice, which has improved the country’s physician-patient ratio as well as training leaders and strengthening the public health infrastructure.