Mozambique: Providing HIV/AIDS care and building local capacity

By mid-2005, MSF staff were carrying out a total of more than 3,000 HIV/AIDS consultations per month in Tete, Moatize, and Angonia. Every month more than 100 women were being enrolled in a program to prevent transmission of the virus during pregnancy.

In the capital city, Maputo, MSF works in the Alto Maé health center, where the organization conducts more than 3,000 consultations per month, and in Chamanculo Hospital, where more than 650 patient visits are held each month as part of a project to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

By mid-2005, MSF was providing 2,733 patients with life-extending antiretroviral (ARV) medicines in the Chamanculo district. MSF continues to provide medical consultations and ARV treatment for HIV-positive patients in Maputo's Mavalane health district, addressing opportunistic infections and supporting the laboratory in the Primeiro de Maio health center.

By the middle of 2005, 1,600 patients were receiving ARV therapy in the health center. Programs aimed at preventing maternal-to-child transmission of the virus and home-based medical and social support are also provided at the health center.

Because of Maputo's high HIV prevalence rate (nearly 20 percent) and the enormous need for treatment, MSF is seeking to transfer its voluntary counseling and testing activities to local health authorities. The change should enable MSF to turn its attention to HIV-positive patients who are currently on a waiting list for treatment, including ARVs. MSF staff are also providing treatment for opportunistic infections and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

In western Tete province, situated between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the MSF team works with the ministry of health and other local partners in Tete town and in the districts of Moatize and Angonia to provide a comprehensive program of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. Activities in Tete are based in the provincial hospital but are also decentralized to peripheral health structures to enable more people to access care.

By mid-2005, MSF staff were carrying out a total of more than 3,000 HIV/AIDS consultations per month in Tete, Moatize, and Angonia. Every month more than 100 women were being enrolled in a program to prevent transmission of the virus during pregnancy. Over 1,000 patients are currently receiving ARVs from MSF in Tete town and Moatize district, and MSF began treating patients in Angonia district with ARVs in April 2005.

MSF staff are also bringing HIV/AIDS care to the people of Lichinga town and district in Mozambique's northern Niassa province. In this rural setting, MSF carries out approximately 550 consultations per month at the provincial hospital. As of June 2005, 200 patients were receiving ARV treatment from MSF in Lichinga and 100 pregnant women were receiving care to prevent transmission of the virus.

Another essential component of MSF's work in Mozambique is fighting the stigma and discrimination that isolate HIV-positive people. This work is done through information, education and awareness-raising activities. Since October 2003, in Maputo and Linchinga, MSF has trained medical students and doctors, as well as those who operate AIDS telephone hotlines. Other activities to fight discrimination include radio campaigns, the use of peer AIDS ambassadors working in hospital waiting rooms and street theater in areas where MSF is conducting home-based care.

MSF also works closely with various groups including associations of people living with HIV/AIDS in Tete Lichinga and Maputo, providing information, training and institutional support.

MSF has worked in Mozambique since 1984.

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