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MSF in Mozambique, 2006/2007
Field Staff: 539
Reason for Intervention:
All articles on Mozambique »
In early 2007 torrential rains fell in Mozambique and flooding in the Zambezi Valley forced about 250,000 people to leave their homes. Although heavy rainfall is a seasonal phenomenon in the country, floods were the worst since 2000/2001 and exacerbated by the landfall of Cyclone Favio. Already working in the country on longer-term HIV/AIDS projects, MSF launched an emergency intervention to assist people affected in Zambezia and Tete provinces in February.
Emergency relief comprised basic assistance to 50,000 people who had to evacuate flooded zones. The main priority was to provide clean and drinkable water, build latrines and distribute plastic sheeting for temporary shelters. Items needed to guarantee minimal hygienic conditions in temporary displacement camps such as soap, mosquito nets, jerry cans and blankets were distributed. MSF also supported the Mozambican health authorities by providing medical care in accommodation centers and helped implement a surveillance system at health posts to detect malnutrition and potential disease outbreaks of measles and diarrheal diseases, including cholera. MSF provided medical and emergency relief for a two-month period.
HIV/AIDS programs MSF has established longer-term projects in the country to help authorities respond to the AIDS epidemic. It is estimated that 16.2 percent of the population is infected with HIV.
The programs are located in the capital city of Maputo, in Tete province (north-west), and Niassa Province (north). In July 2007, more than 11,000 patients were receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) through MSF projects. In addition to drug treatment, programs include health education, counseling, testing and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
During 2006/2007, the main challenge was decentralization of care from hospitals to health centers located closer to communities. This strategy increases access to HIV care, including ART, and helps prevent hospitals and their staff from being overwhelmed by the number of HIV patients. The current human resources crisis in the health sector resulting from emigration and the effects of HIV on the workforce has been a major challenge.
MSF is providing intensive training to local medical staff in programs and keeps simplifying treatments for patients with HIV and tuberculosis. MSF also lobbies the authorities to allow qualified paramedical staff, after proper training, to prescribe anti-retroviral drugs and to use “lay” counselors to reduce the workload of nurses.
MSF has worked in Mozambique since 1984.