Mozambique is one of the countries with the highest rates of HIV and TB worldwide. In 2018, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières teams in Maputo and Beira focused on improving the detection and rapid treatment of opportunistic infections among people with advanced HIV by implementing a specialized package of care and support for people facing the challenge of staying on lifelong treatment or developing drug resistance.
In Maputo, an MSF feasibility study into the use of liposomal doxorubicin to treat Kaposi’s sarcoma, the most frequent cancer affecting people with advanced HIV, showed better outcomes than other available treatments. We treated over 240 patients with this newer drug in 2018 and started advocating to push down the price and get the national treatment guidelines updated.
We started 160 patients on treatment for drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) in six health centers in Maputo in 2018; 70 percent of those patients received less toxic, injection-free treatments. Preliminary positive results from an MSF feasibility study into DR-TB short regimens enabled the Ministry of Health to adopt them as national policy in June.
We partnered with a local organization to open a drop-in center for people who use drugs in Maputo. The center, which offers testing and treatment for HIV, TB, and hepatitis C, and comprehensive harm reduction services, including a needles and syringes distribution program, received around 100 visitors a day.
We also launched a pilot project to prevent mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B in one of the biggest hospitals in Maputo.
In Beira, as part of our project for key populations, teams offered sexual and reproductive health care, including HIV testing and treatment, to vulnerable and stigmatized groups such as sex workers and men who have sex with men. Around 304 people were enrolled in a pre-exposure prophylaxis study to prevent them from contracting HIV.
We also ran sexual and reproductive health services for girls and women at a local health center, where we offer safe abortion care to reduce high mortality rates and suffering seen among women and girls without access to such services.