Posts tagged mozambique

Photo: Flooded streets in Gaza Province. Mozambique 2013 © MSF 
MSF Expands emergency response for Mozambique flood victims
Recent floods devastated the city of Chokwe in Mozambique’s Gaza Province, putting the main hospitals and health structures out of action and leaving people in urgent need of medical care. In response, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is bringing in extra staff and medical supplies and working to get the health facilities up and running again.
The wards of the city’s 120-bed referral hospital in Chokwe—225 kilometers [about 140 miles] north of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo—were deluged with mud and floodwater. MSF teams are working to reopen a section of the hospital, and hope that 10 to 15 beds will be ready for patients soon.
“More and more people are coming back to a devastated city where public services have not yet been reestablished,” says MSF Country Director Reveka Papadopoulou. “Our teams have witnessed an increased number of severely ill patients who need hospital care.”
MSF staff has provided more than 10,000 medical consultations since arriving in Chokwe on January 30, 2013. “We are seeing an average of 700 patients per day, and sometimes more,” says MSF Nurse Amelia Macuacua. “We are referring 15 to 20 severely ill patients to other hospitals in the district [that] are functioning but are already overloaded.”

Photo: Flooded streets in Gaza Province. Mozambique 2013 © MSF 

MSF Expands emergency response for Mozambique flood victims

Recent floods devastated the city of Chokwe in Mozambique’s Gaza Province, putting the main hospitals and health structures out of action and leaving people in urgent need of medical care. In response, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is bringing in extra staff and medical supplies and working to get the health facilities up and running again.

The wards of the city’s 120-bed referral hospital in Chokwe—225 kilometers [about 140 miles] north of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo—were deluged with mud and floodwater. MSF teams are working to reopen a section of the hospital, and hope that 10 to 15 beds will be ready for patients soon.

“More and more people are coming back to a devastated city where public services have not yet been reestablished,” says MSF Country Director Reveka Papadopoulou. “Our teams have witnessed an increased number of severely ill patients who need hospital care.”

MSF staff has provided more than 10,000 medical consultations since arriving in Chokwe on January 30, 2013. “We are seeing an average of 700 patients per day, and sometimes more,” says MSF Nurse Amelia Macuacua. “We are referring 15 to 20 severely ill patients to other hospitals in the district [that] are functioning but are already overloaded.”

Photo: Massive floods destroyed roads and forced 150,000 people to leave their homes behind. Mozambique 2013 © MSF
MSF Launches Emergency Response to Mozambique Floods
The Limpopo River, which flows from South Africa, swelled after several days of heavy rains and flooded Gaza Province. More than 140,000 people have already been displaced from their homes. They are shocked. Most lost everything when they fled.
MSF decided to go straight to Chokwe because we knew the situation was dire there. The city was under 1.5 meters [about five feet] of water in some areas. Houses and buildings collapsed, and in some places the electrical system was destroyed. Now people are slowly coming back to their houses to see what is left of them.
We set up a health post in the compound of Carmelo Hospital, the only health facility that was still functional. Fortunately the hospital received its monthly supply of antiretroviral drugs the week before the floods. The boxes were still sealed and the drugs were intact. We’ve got enough supplies for the coming weeks. In two days our team did 400 consultations. We are treating people who were injured in the floods, and we are also making sure that patients with HIVand tuberculosis (TB) are getting their drugs to ensure their treatment is not interrupted. Gaza province has one of the highest HIV-prevalence rates in the country, so it is essential to maintain patients on antiretroviral medicine. Some of them lost their medical files and don’t remember which drugs they take. This can complicate the continuity of treatment, but at the same time the patients are coming straight to us for guidance, which shows their remarkable commitment to their health.

Photo: Massive floods destroyed roads and forced 150,000 people to leave their homes behind. Mozambique 2013 © MSF

MSF Launches Emergency Response to Mozambique Floods

The Limpopo River, which flows from South Africa, swelled after several days of heavy rains and flooded Gaza Province. More than 140,000 people have already been displaced from their homes. They are shocked. Most lost everything when they fled.

MSF decided to go straight to Chokwe because we knew the situation was dire there. The city was under 1.5 meters [about five feet] of water in some areas. Houses and buildings collapsed, and in some places the electrical system was destroyed. Now people are slowly coming back to their houses to see what is left of them.

We set up a health post in the compound of Carmelo Hospital, the only health facility that was still functional. Fortunately the hospital received its monthly supply of antiretroviral drugs the week before the floods. The boxes were still sealed and the drugs were intact. We’ve got enough supplies for the coming weeks. In two days our team did 400 consultations. We are treating people who were injured in the floods, and we are also making sure that patients with HIVand tuberculosis (TB) are getting their drugs to ensure their treatment is not interrupted. Gaza province has one of the highest HIV-prevalence rates in the country, so it is essential to maintain patients on antiretroviral medicine. Some of them lost their medical files and don’t remember which drugs they take. This can complicate the continuity of treatment, but at the same time the patients are coming straight to us for guidance, which shows their remarkable commitment to their health.

Photo: Bruno weighing babies at the Malhangalene Health Centre. Maputo, Mozambique 2012. © Andre Francois
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Photo: Bruno weighing babies at the Malhangalene Health Centre. Maputo, Mozambique 2012. © Andre Francois

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Carmen is 32 years old. She lives in Tete, a town on the Zambezi river in northern Mozambique, with her husband, Victorino, and two children.

She found out she was HIV-positive in 2007 and started on antiretroviral treatment in 2009. Today she is alive and healthy, looking after her family and going to evening school to improve her qualifications.

“I cried when I came back from the hospital on the day I found out I was HIV positive, and I had no idea what to do,” she said. “It was my sister who encouraged me to follow what the doctor said. And I am glad I did because without the medication, I expect I would be dead by now.”

Today, more than six million people living with HIV are alive because they are receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment. But nearly nine million more are still waiting to get these medicines and will die without them in the next several years. Getting more people on treatment not only saves more lives, it also dramatically reduces the risk of new infections, offering a way forward to halting the spread of the AIDS pandemic.

With funding to expand treatment many more people like Carmen could have real futures to plan for with their families and in their communities. And we could see light at the end of this HIV/AIDS tunnel.

"5 Lives" tells the stories of people who MSF works with every day, people whose lives often hinge on whether or not they can gain access to a simple medical intervention. These are situations that could be avoided with proper and sustainable funding and investment in public health. That’s why MSF supports calls to permanently allocate a small portion of a new financial transaction tax (FTT), which has been proposed by some governments, to support global health needs. A regular stream of funding would help provide some of the resources needed to address unchecked health crises around the world.

Photo: © Brendan Bannon

Carmen is 32 years old. She lives in Tete, a town on the Zambezi river in northern Mozambique, with her husband, Victorino, and two children.

She found out she was HIV-positive in 2007 and started on antiretroviral treatment in 2009. Today she is alive and healthy, looking after her family and going to evening school to improve her qualifications.

“I cried when I came back from the hospital on the day I found out I was HIV positive, and I had no idea what to do,” she said. “It was my sister who encouraged me to follow what the doctor said. And I am glad I did because without the medication, I expect I would be dead by now.”

Today, more than six million people living with HIV are alive because they are receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment. But nearly nine million more are still waiting to get these medicines and will die without them in the next several years. Getting more people on treatment not only saves more lives, it also dramatically reduces the risk of new infections, offering a way forward to halting the spread of the AIDS pandemic.

With funding to expand treatment many more people like Carmen could have real futures to plan for with their families and in their communities. And we could see light at the end of this HIV/AIDS tunnel.

"5 Lives" tells the stories of people who MSF works with every day, people whose lives often hinge on whether or not they can gain access to a simple medical intervention. These are situations that could be avoided with proper and sustainable funding and investment in public health. That’s why MSF supports calls to permanently allocate a small portion of a new financial transaction tax (FTT), which has been proposed by some governments, to support global health needs. A regular stream of funding would help provide some of the resources needed to address unchecked health crises around the world.

Photo: © Brendan Bannon

The New York Times featured MSF in the Small Fixes section Monday with an article about MSF physician Dr. Tom Decroo’s work in Mozambique. Decroo began organizing patients into groups of six to help solve the problem of the growing number of patients across Africa who fail to collect their antiretroviral medicines:

“We went up there and were blown away,” Dr. Kebba Jobarteh, who heads the H.I.V. care and treatment program in Mozambique for the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said after his visit to Tete. “We met five groups. They were amazing. This is a potential game changer for H.I.V.”

MSF began providing antiretroviral drug treatment to AIDS patients in Mozambique in 2003, but feared the patients would not be able to take their medications properly:

Before the expatriate doctors would even prescribe the complicated combination therapy, patients were required to show up on time for eight appointments. For the sickest, poorest patients, the bar was impossibly high. “Before the eight consultations were done they would die,” Dr. Decroo recalled.

The rules for AIDS care have eased greatly since then, but Dr. Decroo became convinced that they needed to change even more. Though more than six million people are on antiretrovirals in developing countries, the United Nations estimates that nine million patients who need them are not getting them.

The article states that the patient groups have eased the load on hospitals and health care workers as well as the stigma on patients:

“If I’m sick and isolated, kept at home, I’m considered a dead body, though still breathing,” Mr. Supinho said. “But when a person is in a group, he feels, ‘I’m sick, but I count.’ ”

Photos: Joao Pina for The New York Times

In Mozambique’s Tete province, MSF is working with an innovative model for HIV/AIDS treatment that depends on the patients themselves to help facilitate the use of antiretrovial (ARV) drugs.