Status: Current response

With a surge of coronavirus case numbers in the New Year in Lesotho, UK-Med has sent a team of 9 medics to support the country’s COVID-19 response as part of the UK Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT).  

Coronavirus is spreading across all regions of Lesotho, a landlocked country situated within South Africa, with a population of 2.1 million. As of February 23the number of confirmed cases reported has risen to 10,461 cases and 285 people have sadly died. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the ongoing health issues that the country faces, with other endemic diseases including HIV/AIDS and tuberculous. 

The Lesotho Ministry of Health has worked hard to step up its response to the pandemic, putting in place isolation facilities and increased critical and intensive care capacity.  However the sudden spike in cases following the Christmas holiday period has put severe strain on these facilities and the capacity of medical staff.

As in many countries, specialist equipment and staff with relevant experience of treating severe respiratory virus infections are in short supply.


UK-Med team members responding


intensive care beds


coronavirus treatment centres

How we’re helping

The UK-EMT will support the Lesotho Ministry of Health by strengthening and building the capacity of health services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This will be achieved through the delivery of specialist training and on the job support in case management and infection prevention and control (IPC).

Led by UK-Med’s Veronique Urbaniak, a medical doctor and humanitarian health programme specialist, the team of nine includes a logistician, risk communications and community engagement (RCCE) advisor, and doctors and nurses specialising in critical care and infection prevention and control.  

Their activities will include:  

Increasing the capacity of health facilities in Lesotho to cope with the rising number of serious and critically ill patients.

Making sure patients who are critically ill with COVID-19 get high quality treatment, in line with national and World Health Organization guidelines.

Providing technical support to local counterparts, at both national and sub-national levels.

We’ll post more updates as our response develops over the coming weeks.

Read more about our COVID-19 responses around the world.

We’re grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for UK Aid funding from the British people to fund this important response.