Background to CHAL’s establishment
The roots of the establishment of Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) can be traced to 1844 when Christian Mission clinics started to operate in Lesotho. In the 1930s churches’ owned hospitals were also established with the support of missionaries from around the world to promote health and healing. However, the setup lacked an organizational framework for collective efforts and common voice until in the 1960s when physicians from different mission hospitals began meeting regularly to discuss common problems, seek common solutions and find fellowship. In the early 1970s organizations such as the Christian Council of Lesotho and Oxfam advocated for a more formal organization which led to the Minister of Health supporting the formation of the Association in 1973, hence the birth of CHAL.
The Association was therefore registered in Lesotho in 1974 under the Societies Act of the Kingdom of Lesotho. CHAL is a voluntary organization of six member churches, namely; Anglican Church in Lesotho, Assemblies of God, Church of the Bible Covenant, Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa, Roman Catholic Church, and the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Southern Africa. CHAL currently provides more than 40% of health care in Lesotho through a network of 8 hospitals and 71 health centres as well as 4 Nursing Colleges. All the health facilities are situated in the ten districts of Lesotho with a larger proportion in remote and hard-to-reach places. CHAL is currently an active member of global and continental networks such as African Christian Health Association Platform (ACHAP), Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) and Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN).