Mozambican Health Minister Ivo Garrido has called for a redoubling of efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS in order to reduce substantially the HIV prevalence rate.
Maputo - Mozambique hopes to recruit 8 000 doctors from other African nations to improve a health-care system battered by one of the continent's worst Aids epidemics, the country's health minister said on Monday.
The African Ministers of Health have adopted the African Union Plan of Action for universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services in Africa by 2015.
Food and agricultural experts say more than half a million Mozambicans face shortages unless an estimated 70,000 mt of emergency relief aid is secured.
UN Children's Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have appealed to development partners to increase their efforts to prevent and fight malaria, the main child killer in Mozambique.
Mozambique's Deputy Health Minister Aida Libombo admitted on Wednesday that cases of cholera have increased in the country, but the number of deaths and the fatality rate have dropped significantly, when compared with past outbreaks. Addressing questions tabled by the ruling Frelimo party on the cholera situation in the country, she told the Assembly of the Republic, the Mozambican parliament, that since November 2003 up until 26 February, the total number of cases diagnosed throughout the country was 10,977 patients, with 68 deaths. The case fatality rate is thus 0.6 per cent in this outbreak.
Sixty-one Masvingo nurses were left stranded in Mozambique after they were swindled of over $10 million by a trickster who lied to them that he would facilitate employment for them in Maputo. It was not clear where exactly the nurses were employed in Masvingo, but one of the nurses said she had taken off days to survey what seemed to be a greener pasture. The nurse said she and others had paid $200 000 each two weeks ago after she learnt from other nurses that there was an employment agency looking for nurses to work in Maputo. She said the agent, whom they only knew as Makaure, had said he had been tasked by a certain hospital and the Health Ministry of Mozambique to look for nurses who would be paid in United States dollars. She said Makaure also said he wanted to sort out other administration issues in Rutenga and referred them to a certain Mr Vasili who he said owned lodges where they would temporarily stay. She said when they arrived at Mr Vasili's residence they were shocked by the state of the house which was dilapidated and did not appear like a lodge. The nurse said they all proceeded to the country's health ministry where they were told they never requested for any nurses from Zimbabwe. The hospital Makaure had mentioned was also non existent. Nurses went on strike two months ago demanding for a salary increase. The Government awarded them and other civil servants a 250 percent pay rise.(Source: Herald Reporter, Tuesday, 10 February 2004)
Mozambican Health Minister Francisco Songane reaffirmed on Monday that malaria remains the single largest cause of death in the country. Songane was speaking in Maputo at a meeting between Ministry of Health specialists and cooperation partners under the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programme. In Mozambique RBM has since last year brought together the Health Ministry, religious bodies, companies and practitioners of traditional medicine in activities to combat malaria. The Ministry's figures indicate that about 30 per cent of all hospital deaths are caused by malaria: the death toll is particularly high among children and pregnant women who contract the disease. About 60 per cent of hospitalisations are due to malaria. The data we have indicate that malaria is the main cause of death among the Mozambican population, even though many people are infected with HIV/AIDS, said Songane. All forms of prevention, both of malaria and of HIV, must be rigorously followed. He urged Mozambican businesses to produce mosquito netting. Currently the nets used to protect against mosquito bites are all imported. If some industrial units produce fishing nets, why can't they produce mosquito nets ?, asked Songane. He thought that the manufacture and marketing of the nets, at accessible prices, would allow communities to adapt to this proven method of preventing malaria. During the Monday event, the Bank of Mozambique donated a variety of equipment to the RBM programme including microscopes for laboratory analysis, equipment for anti-mosquito spraying, and mosquito netting. (Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo), July 7, 2003)
MAPUTO, Mozambique — In the special United Nations session on AIDS next week, there will be much discussion about international aid, about drugs and vaccines. But there is likely to be too little said about what is the primary means by which AIDS is spread in sub-Saharan Africa: risky heterosexual sex. AIDS is not like smallpox or polio. And unlike the communicable killer diseases we have encountered most often in the past, H.I.V. is transmitted through the most intimate and private human relationships, through sexual violence and commercial sex; it proliferates because of women's poverty and inequality. In Mozambique, the overall rate of H.I.V. infection among girls and young women — 15 percent — is twice that of boys their age, not because the girls are promiscuous, but because nearly three out of five are married by age 18, 40 percent of them to much older, sexually experienced men who may expose their wives to H.I.V. and sexually transmitted diseases. Similar patterns are common in other nations where H.I.V. is rapidly spreading. Abstinence is not an option for these child brides. Those who try to negotiate condom use commonly face violence or rejection. And in heterosexual sex, girls and women are biologically more vulnerable to infection than are boys or men. As a father, I fear for the lives of my own children and their teenage friends. Though they have secure families, education, and the information and support they need to avoid risky sex, too few of their peers do. As prime minister, I am horrified that we stand to lose most of a generation, maybe two. The United Nations estimates that 37 percent of the 16-year-olds in my country will die of AIDS before they are 30. As a man, I know men's behavior must change, that we must raise boys differently, to have any hope of eradicating H.I.V. and preventing the emergence of another such scourge. For the long term, we need to develop H.I.V. vaccines and provide treatment to everyone with H.I.V. We need to develop protection methods like microbicides that women can use with or without a partner's knowledge or cooperation. Above all, we must summon the courage to talk frankly and constructively about sexuality. We must recognize the pressures on our children to have sex that is neither safe nor loving. We must provide them with information, communications skills and, yes, condoms. To change fundamentally how girls and boys learn to relate to each other and how men treat girls and women is slow, painstaking work. But surely our children's lives are worth the effort. Pascoal Mocumbi, prime minister of Mozambique and its former minister of health, is a physician and a board member of the International Women's Health Coalition. (Source: Editorial, New York Times, 20 June 2001)
Health Systems Trust
If the principal aim of the public health sector is to improve the health of South Africans, then our focus must be the health of rural people. In other words, the reform efforts and upheavals which have left the South African health system creaking and groaning in protest must continue until it is turned on its head - and is explicitly biased towards rural health. Rural people bear the greatest burden of disease, mainly because rural people bear the greatest burden of poverty. But paradoxically, urban dwellers are better served by both public and private health care resources. Simply put, rural people are generally poorer and less healthy -and have less access to health care.