Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights


Lesotho faces numerous health and development challenges. These both contribute to, and in part stem from, the HIV and AIDS epidemic, income inequalities, and poor access to information and services on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Both child and maternal mortality rates follow a similar trend of increasing from 1991/2 until 2004/5 then steadily decreasing until the most recent measurements in 2015/16.

Unsafe abortion is a factor in the high maternal mortality rate. Abortions are available only if there is a risk to the mother’s mental or physical health. Rates of HIV and AIDS have climbed from 1.3% in 1990 to 25% in 2015. This positions Lesotho amongst countries with the highest of HIV rates in the world, though the rate of new infections has been reducing since 2000. Key populations in Lesotho are battling with stigma, discrimination and a range of human rights abuses, in some cases because criminal law creates barriers to their access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services

World Databank (2017) Maternal mortality ratio (modelled estimate, per 100,000 live births) Accessed 01.03.2018
World Databank (2017) Mortality rate, under-5 (per 1,000 live births) Accessed 01.03.2018
World Databank (2017) Prevalence of HIV, total (% of population ages 15-49) Accessed 01.03.2018


Indicator Outcome
Maternal mortality ratio (out of 100,000) 487 (2015)
Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births) (deaths in the first year of life) 72 (2016)
Child mortality rate (per 1000 live births, in the first five years) 94 (2016)
Proportion of Births Attended by Skilled Birth Attendants 95% (2014)
Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit) 92% (2009)
Total fertility rate 3 (2017)
Adolescent birth rate (births per 1000 girls aged 15-19) 77.9 (2014)
Contraceptive prevalence rate (% of women aged 15 to 49 years reporting that they use any modern method of contraception 60% (2017)
Unmet need for modern contraception (% of women currently married or in union of reproductive age (aged 15-49) 23% (2017)
Number of people living with HIV 330,000 (2016)
Adults aged 15 to 49 prevalence rate 25% (2016)
Young women (15-24) prevalence 13.9% (2016)
HIV positive pregnant women receiving antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission 66% (2016)

Further reading

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