- - -


Step on the Red Carpet: Lesotho’s Youth Receiving Premium SRHR Services through IPPF’s Member Association

The ‘Red-Carpet model’ is aimed at providing adolescents and young people with a VIP experience as they access quality youth-friendly services at the facility.

Lesotho, a country situated in Southern Africa and landlocked by the Republic of South Africa, has an estimated total population of 2.1 million people. The small country is still heavily affected by HIV and AIDS, with high prevalence rates of 24.3% among women aged 15-49, and 14.2% among men in the same age bracket.

The Lesotho government, in partnership with various non-governmental organizations, continues to address these alarming rates, including among adolescents and youth. One of the government’s key partners in the country is IPPF’s Member Association in Lesotho, Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA).

One of LPPA’s strategy aimed at increasing HIV linkage and retention in care and treatment among adolescents and young people living with HIV, is through an initiative known as the ‘Red-Carpet model’. The initiative, started in May 2023, is being piloted in LPPA’s youth clinic located in the capital city, Maseru.

The ‘Red-Carpet model’ is aimed at providing adolescents and young people with a VIP experience as they access quality youth-friendly services at the facility. The model fast tracks services and reduces barriers for adolescents to access and utilize integrated HIV/SRH services.

We had a chat with Ms. Mamojela Koneshe, LPPA’s Executive Director, who sheds more light on this initiative.

How exactly does the ‘Red-Carpet’ model work?

The model serves all adolescents and young people who visit the clinic, regardless of if they are first time or returning clients. For the new clients, they first report to the reception area upon arrival at the clinic. They are then referred to the waiting area where an LPPA Youth Ambassador gives them information about the model, how it works and its benefits.

Youth Ambassadors are young people seconded to LPPA clinics by one of our partner organizations - Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). Their duties include ensuring that adolescents in the clinic are linked to appropriate HIV prevention methods and treatment. They also hold scheduled peer support groups, and in collaboration with the Youth Nurse, link vulnerable youth to various organisations depending on their needs –for example linking sexual and gender-based violence survivors to shelters. The Youth Ambassadors also ensure that red carpet model is well implemented.

While at the waiting area, the Youth Ambassador gives the adolescent or young client access to free wi-fi, which enables them to access the internet. After this, the client is enrolled in the model and given a VIP card. When their turn arrives, the Youth Ambassador escorts them to the relevant consultation or counselling room depending on the service they need.

The expected time spent in the facility by the young person is 45minutes. This is the maximum time expected to be spent by young people while accessing services and was informed by the various services that young people access in our facility. Telephone follow-up interviews are then done with the clients on a weekly basis.

On their return visit, upon arrival at the facility, adolescents report to the reception where they present the VIP card they were given at their first visit.

They are then referred to the waiting area where once again, the Youth Ambassador gives them a free wi-fi voucher and links them to the appropriate service. Similarly, the expected time spent in the facility is 45minutes.

Why is the provision of free internet to adolescents and youth at the clinic important?

This is because it enables young people to access a vast amount of health information online. By connecting to the internet, they search for health-related information. It also gives them access to educational resources that can help them make informed decisions about their health. Going online also helps them to connect with their peers within established peer support groups.

In addition, most of our clients are students at colleges, universities, and other learning institutions, so facilitating their free internet access helps them to continue studying and researching while waiting for services. They like this since they don’t have to use their own internet bundles, which can be quite expensive for them.







HIV and STIs

Related Member Association

Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association

The "red carpet" VIP desk at LPPA’s youth clinic in Maseru


The ‘Red-Carpet model’ is aimed at providing adolescents and young people with a VIP experience as they access quality youth-friendly services at the facility. The model fast tracks services and reduces barriers for adolescents to access and utilize integrated HIV/SRH services.

Considering that LPPA endeavours to provide a holistic approach to our clients, the Youth Ambassador also assists the adolescents to explore online opportunities such as employment, school, etc.

Client testimony

“A thumbs up to LPPA for the services they offer to young people. When I first arrived at the clinic, I met a friendly lady at the reception who welcomed me and gave me information about the services they have for adolescents and young people aged 10-24 years. She handed me a free wi-fi voucher as we continued with our conversation. When it was my turn to get into the consultation room, she escorted me to the door where I was received by a kind nurse. I really loved my experience at the facility. Interestingly, a few days later, they called to tell me that they were just checking up on me, asking if I was still taking my medication as prescribed and if I was experiencing any challenges. That was very impressive. I have since recommended the services at the clinic to many of my friends as I know that they too will receive good services.” -Thabile Janele, male, 24 years.

Were adolescents and youth involved in the design of this initiative?

Yes, they were centrally involved as young engagement is at the heart of our work as LPPA. We factor in their input in all our programmes, right from the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes. 24-year-old Ntseiseng Moloko expounds more on youth engagement of the Red-Carpet model.

“I was part of the young people who volunteered to participate in the design of the Red-Carpet model, which strives to address the various challenges that adolescents and youth face in their quest to access SRH services. Our input included the ideal time we should spend at the facility, and how LPPA can create a fully supportive environment for young people while at the clinic, especially for those who receive a positive HIV diagnosis. This is usually a life-changing and critical time for them, and we were able to offer our suggestions which were incorporated by the LPPA team. As a young client who accesses services at LPPA and who has benefited from the ‘Red-Carpet model’, I have talked to other adolescents and youth who appreciate it, because it ensures we receive services that are precisely tailored to our needs.

We also like the colourful posters at the gate of the facility which inform us about the range of services we can get, as well as the arrows directing us to the reception. Inside the facility, there are many posters, booklets and other printed material offering SRH information and which have young people on them, which we find very relatable. The presence of the Youth Ambassadors who share more information, give us wi-fi access and accompany us to the consultation rooms is nice. I remember a few days after my visit to the clinic, they called me to check up on me, which made me feel special. The services at LPPA are splendid!”

Which are the most frequently accessed services by adolescents and youth at the clinic?

The most frequently accessed services include family planning services, HIV testing and counseling services, provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), antiretroviral (ART) services and STI management.

How has the update of services by adolescents and youth since this initiative began been?

Even though the model is still in its pilot phase, we have noted an increase in the number of clients served. Last year, from May- October 2022, we served 163 clients. For the same period this year, which is since the inception of the model (from May-October 2023), we have served 258 young clients.

One of our nurses who has been trained on this model is Ms. Mabohlokoa Monyane, who speaks more about it.

“There has been improved retention of newly initiated ART clients since the model started. There has also been a notable increase in the number of adolescents seeking SRH/HIV services. I would say the increase in clientele served in the clinic is significantly due to peer-to-peer referrals (word of mouth referrals) from clients enrolled in the model.”

Is the Red-Carpet model meeting your expectations?

Yes! In addition to the increased uptake of adolescents and youth who access SRH services, there has been retention of PrEP and ART clients in care. There has also been an improved rapport between the clients and service providers due to frequent communication following access to services.

What are your sustainability plans with this model?

LPPA plans to incorporate this model in the next financial year and outsource funding to support it. The plan is to scale up the model to other LPPA clinics following the report that will be obtained after the pilot phase. We expect to put in place more initiatives that will support the model. We will also provide ongoing refresher trainings to service providers.

By Maryanne W. Waweru

Banner image shows nurse Mabohlokoa Monyane (L) with male young client Thabile Janele (R)