Global Perspective

Strengthen Health Systems Abroad

by Dyrin Hernandez-Chavez '26

Lumelang (hello)! During the 2024 intersession, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in global health by participating in the Lesotho Global Health Immersion Program.

This experience allowed me to help strengthen health systems in the resource-constrained country of Lesotho and culturally immerse myself in a new country!

For some background, the country of Lesotho currently ranks first in the world for HIV/AIDS and second for Tuberculosis prevalence. Despite its high need for accessible health care, Lesotho is overcome with a variety of obstacles that make it difficult to control these numbers. Government aid for health care is also scarce so Lesotho's health care system is mainly operated by non-governmental organizations and foreign donors. This global immersion program partnered with Lesotho Boston Health Alliance, more commonly known as LeBoHa, which allowed us to see first hand how non-governmental agencies work to provide the health care that individuals of this country need.

As a nursing major, it was very eye-opening to see the differences between Lesotho's healthcare system and the one I work for and am a part of. The resilience of people walking a couple of hours just to receive basic care at facilities that lack medical supplies emphasized the need for accessible healthcare for all, in Lesotho, but also in the United States. I had the pleasure to meet Basotho nurses and observe how different nursing is in other countries, which allowed me to expand my love for nursing. Additionally, I was able to continue to expand my knowledge of public health by researching one of Lesotho's health problems and developing real-life solutions to this issue to make a change for the better within the healthcare system. This program was able to empower me to continue advocating for public health in my future profession as a nurse by utilizing the privilege that I hold and implementing the knowledge I learned into my career.