Coronavirus, Medicus Mundi in Mozambique: stop to medical mobile clinics puts at risk thousands of people

Coronavirus in Mozambique: “for population, hearing about an incoming epidemic is a current matter: malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, cholera …”

“The worrying aspect of COVID-19 pandemic, however, is not so much in the incidence on the nation – the official numbers speak of 39 infections – but in the fact that it turned out into the suspension of our ‘medical mobile clinics’ in the most remote areas, leaving many people without medical assistance. It is precisely in those inaccessible and isolated villages that early diagnosis, vaccines or the administration of drugs against malaria and tuberculosis have an added value “.

Carlo Cerini, medical coordinator for Medicus Mundi Italia reported the scenario above. He, like many NGO workers based in Brescia, decided to stay in Marrumbene despite the pandemic emergency in order not to interrupt the health action that is being carried out in four southern districts.

Coronavirus emergency, Medicus Mundi in Mozambique

500 thousand people live in Mozambique but it is to rural communities, more disconnected from population centers and health services, that the mobile clinics of Medicus Mundi bring assistance. The doctor points out: “We offer basic services in collaboration with the national health system. For children, we screen for malnutrition and vaccinations, which are essential here: measles kills many children. Then we follow pregnant women and above all, we administer tests for malaria, HIV and tuberculosis and where possible, we distribute drugs. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in these contexts to survive. “

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, however, activities have been suspended. “By their nature, medical mobile clinics generate aggregation,” says Cerini. “Only that for the treatment of HIV patients, around 170, who could not remain without treatment remained active”.

Coronavirus pandemic in Mozambique, no medical mobile clinics and villages cut out

With such a low number of coronavirus sufferers, the result is that communities don’t clearly understand what it is. “We participated in the information campaigns – says Cerini – but this is not felt like a necessity, in the face of many other epidemics”.

Because in Mozambique malaria alone, recalls Dr Cerini, “is the leading cause of infant mortality. We handle 800 cases per month. HIV / AIDS is the real epidemic: 13% of the population is HIV positive, one of the highest rates in the world. We only handle 500 cases per year. ” As for tuberculosis, continued the doctor, “it affects one person every 250 and without diagnosis or treatment these people are without alternatives”.

Another problem that the suspension of the medical mobile clinics entails is having left the communities alone. “The villages in which we operate are so isolated that politics and institutions do not arrive,” says Cerini. “So often we are their only means of having a voice, of transmitting requests or protests on health issues”. The doctor concludes: “Yes, COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on these communities. It still hasn’t arrived. ”

The funds collected for the coronavirus emergency in Mozambique and in the other areas of the world

Sensitive to the emergency that Lombardy (Italy) is experiencing, Medicus Mundi Italia together with other companies of Brescia has launched le project ‘NGOs are there, in Italy and around the world‘. It is a fundraising campaign to help tackle the COVID-19 emergency in our country and in the rest of the world, particularly in countries where NGOs operate through their programs.

In a note, the leaders of the organizations declare: “Brescia is one of the most affected cities, but despite the injuries sustained, the Brescia NGOs go on, do not close, because solidarity does not stop and because it is here, present and active, that now we have to be”.



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