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MSF in Mozambique, 2007
Field Staff: 565
Reason for Intervention:
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With more than 16 per cent of the population infected, HIV is one of the main health concerns in Mozambique. MSF runs various programs to combat the spread of the epidemic as well as providing timely assistance to areas repeatedly affected by heavy rains and floods.
Decentralised HIV/AIDS care
MSF has established long-term projects to support the authorities’ response to the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. The programs are based in the capital city of Maputo and the provinces of Tete in the north-west and Niassa in the north. In December, about 14,300 patients were receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) through MSF-supported facilities. Programs include health education, counseling, testing and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
MSF continued to transfer care from hospitals to health centers closer to communities. This increases access to HIV care, including ART, and helps prevent hospital congestion and staff being overwhelmed by the number of patients.
With more than 16% of the population infected, HIV is one of the main health concerns in Mozambique.
The current human resources crisis in the health sector due to emigration and the effects of HIV on the workforce has been a major challenge. MSF is providing intensive training to local medical staff and continues to simplify treatments for patients with HIV and tuberculosis. MSF also lobbies the authorities to allow qualified paramedical staff, after professional training, to prescribe antiretroviral drugs and to use ‘lay counselors’ to reduce the workload of nurses. There is a strong belief that shifting tasks is the only way to provide HIV/AIDS treatment on the scale required.
Seasonal floods and cyclone Favio
The year started with torrential rains flooding the Zambezi valley and forcing some 250,000 people to leave their homes. Although heavy rainfall is a seasonal phenomenon, these floods were the worst since 2001 and were exacerbated by the arrival of cyclone Favio.
In February, MSF launched a two-month emergency intervention to help people affected in Zambezia and Tete provinces. More than 50,000 people benefited. The main activities were distribution of clean and drinkable water, construction of latrines and distribution of plastic sheeting for temporary shelters.
MSF also supported the Mozambican health authorities by providing medical care in resettlement centers and helped implement a surveillance system to detect malnutrition and potential disease outbreaks such as measles, diarrhea and cholera.
MSF has worked in Mozambique since 1984.