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Background: 2013

This is an extract from our latest Activity Report, looking back on our work in the previous year.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been supporting the Ministry of Health to increase the number of people on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV.

Despite progress in Mozambique’s national response to HIV/AIDS, the virus still accounts for 40 percent of adult deaths and 14 percent of child deaths in the country.

One significant barrier to people getting appropriate healthcare is a lack of skilled medical professionals.

MSF has developed innovative solutions in the management of HIV to overcome this obstacle, by empowering patients as well as lower level healthcare workers.

Comprehensive HIV/TB co-infection treatment

Comprehensive treatment for HIV patients co-infected with tuberculosis (TB) was provided through programmes in Chamanculo and Mavalane districts in the capital city, Maputo, and in Tete.

Specialised care was given to people with more complex conditions, such as drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), and those who had not responded to first-line ARV treatment, or had Kaposi’s sarcoma or cervical cancer.

Treatment for children was also included in the programmes. MSF is supporting implementation of a policy to provide all HIV-positive pregnant women, and children under five, with ARVs.

Complex HIV/AIDS cases

In Chamanculo, MSF worked in five health centres and in one referral centre for complex HIV/AIDS cases, all run by the Ministry of Health.

MSF also supported the Mavalane project which registered patients on ARV treatment in four health centres and one health post; six percent of the patients who registered were under 15.

MSF has another team supporting the Primeiro de Maio health centre, which provides services specifically for adolescents. More than 600 young people were offered counselling, peer education, testing and linkage to care each month.

Viral load technology, considered the ‘gold standard’ for monitoring the amount of HIV virus in a patient’s blood, was introduced in Maputo and Changara district in 2013.

An MSF team provided staff training in support of the Ministry of Health’s Acceleration Plan to make ARV treatment available to more people in need.

Flooding in Chokwe

At the beginning of the year, heavy rains caused extensive flooding. Gaza province and the city of Chokwe were particularly affected, and health facilities, including the main hospital, were disrupted.

MSF deployed an emergency team to support the health ministry with extra staff and medical supplies.

During the two-month emergency programme the team carried out more than 23,000 medical consultations.

Almost half of these related to HIV/AIDS and TB. The rest of the patients were mainly suffering from respiratory infections, diarrhoea and malaria.

At the end of 2013, MSF had 327 staff in Mozambique. MSF has been working in the country since 1984.

Patient story

Carla, cured of multidrug-resistant TB, Maputo

"I feel like I was born again. It was more than two years of treatment, which finally has ended.

"I thought about giving up the treatment and I even thought about suicide. Today I have hearing problems and I am forced to use a hearing aid to be able to listen.

"Besides that, my vision problem got worse. It was a big challenge for me, but now I am cured of drug-resistant TB and I can proceed with my dreams."

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