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MSF in Mozambique, 2004
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Most MSF activities in Mozambique are focused on improving the lives of those who live with HIV/AIDS – an estimated 1.8 million of the country's approximately 19 million people. Life expectancy has already begun to be affected by the AIDS epidemic.
Since 2001, MSF has provided comprehensive care to people living with HIV/AIDS, conducted HIV education and assisted patient-support groups in Maputo. In the Chamanculo health district, MSF supports the Alto Maé health center and one unit of Chamanculo Hospital. Activities include voluntary counseling and HIV testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus and treatment with antiretroviral (ARV) medicines. As of June 2004, 935 patients were receiving life-extending ARV therapy. MSF hopes to increase the number of patients using ARVs by at least 80 a month.
In the city's Mavalene district, MSF staff work at the Primeiro de Maio health center, providing comprehensive AIDS prevention and treatment services primarily to a destitute urban population. As of May 2004, MSF was providing ARVs to 473 patients in this region. The team conducted 6,942 consultations in the day clinic between January and May 2004. In addition, 975 women had been tested for HIV as part of the mother-to-child prevention program. The MSF staff hope to expand ARV treatment to an additional 700 people in Mavalane district during 2004. In Lichinga, an isolated city in the north of the country, MSF supports two voluntary counseling and care clinics (one in the provincial hospital and one in the city's health center) and one hospital.
Activities include comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment and education and training of staff members who work in these health structures. As of June 2004, 81 patients were receiving ARVs. MSF recently began a campaign to reduce stigma and discrimination through street theater, radio programs and other activities. MSF also runs two HIV/AIDS projects in Tete province and another in the northern district of Angonia. Tete has a high concentration of displaced people who arrived during Mozambique's period of civil conflict. The most recent epidemiological surveillance shows an HIV infection rate of 20 percent. As of May 2004, through these projects, MSF had conducted 5,150 medical consultations, had tested 972 women for the virus as part of the mother-to-child prevention program, and was treating 279 people with ARVs.
To help the government cope with cholera, a recurring health problem, MSF began a vaccination project in December 2003 in the city of Beira, in the province of Sofala. This was the first large-scale field test of a cholera vaccine and was carried out in cooperation with the World Health Organization and others. MSF also responded to a cholera outbreak in Maputo between January and March 2004. In mid-2004, MSF will hand over another cholera prevention program to a local association.
MSF has worked in Mozambique since the late 1980s.