How MSF is fighting COVID-19 in Mozambique
COVID-19 cases in Mozambique doubled in January. MSF reacted by scaling up our national response. In Maputo, we set up two tents with capacity for 16 people with moderate or severe symptoms in Mavalane hospital. We installed GeneXpert machines to improve testing and diagnosis and provided technical support for the organization of a new COVID-19 treatment center and infection prevention and control (IPC) training for local front-line health workers.
In Montepuez cholera outbreaks prevented the implementation of the COVID-19 contingency plan. MSF donated cleaning materials and continues to support the hospital, setting up pre-triage points there and in three health centers. Training for health staff is planned for a new COVID-19 treatment center.
In Beira we are assisting the Ministry of Health (MoH)with triage in two health facilities and at Central hospital. We are also supporting the isolation center with 20 beds and are providing IPC and case management training to MoH frontline health workers. We’ve also increased health staff, adding one doctor, five nurses, six health promoters, and 14 cleaners.
Two tropical cyclones hit Mozambique between March and April 2019, with devastating consequences for a country already facing considerable health challenges.
In addition to supporting the emergency response to these natural disasters, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to run regular projects providing care for HIV and tuberculosis (TB), a dual epidemic affecting a large proportion of the population: an estimated 2.2 million Mozambicans are living with HIV, and 34,000 of them are co-infected with tuberculosis (TB). Learn how you can best help in Mozambique and other countries.
On March 15, Cyclone Idai hit Beira in Sofala province, affecting some 1.85 million people. Homes, health facilities, and other infrastructure were destroyed by the cyclone and subsequent flooding and more than 400,000 people were displaced. We deployed emergency teams to support the response and, 10 days later, a cholera outbreak was declared. As well as managing 57 percent of cholera patients, we supported the Ministry of Health to vaccinate 900,000 people against the disease, set up two water treatment plants, rehabilitated 18 health centers, and distributed relief items, such as soap, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, blankets, mats, and buckets. In total, we conducted nearly 11,900 outpatient consultations, primarily for malnutrition and malaria, in 25 locations.
Six weeks later, when Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Cabo Delgado province, we built cholera treatment centers in Pemba, Mecufi, and Metuge, carried out water and sanitation activities, and conducted general health consultations. The catastrophic impact of two cyclones in such a short space of time was compounded by months of drought later in the year. Together they exacerbated the already serious food insecurity and malnutrition situation in the country. Please donate to support our work in Mozambique and other countries around the world now.
Fighting the dual HIV/TB epidemic
In the capital, Maputo, we are implementing specialized care and support packages for patients with advanced HIV who are facing the challenge of staying on lifelong treatment or have developed drug resistance. This includes improving the detection and rapid treatment of opportunistic infections.
In Mafalala slum, we work with a local organization to run a drop-in center for people who use drugs, where testing and treatment for HIV, TB, and hepatitis C are available. It is the only program in Mozambique offering comprehensive harm reduction services, including needle and syringe distribution.
In Beira, MSF runs mobile clinics providing sexual and reproductive health care, including HIV testing, counseling, and family planning to vulnerable groups such as sex workers, who are at high risk of HIV infection. In 2019, we started offering advanced HIV care at Beira central hospital.
Delivering health care in conflict areas
In Cabo Delgado, access to health care is extremely limited due to violence and insecurity. In 2019, we started supporting a health center in Macomia, with treatment for malaria, malnutrition and respiratory diseases. We also rehabilitated the center, which was severely damaged by Cyclone Kenneth, ran training on maternal health, pediatrics, and sexual and reproductive health care for Ministry of Health staff and upgraded the water supply system.