In Aftermath of Heavy Flooding, EGPAF Helps Reopen Health Facilities in Mozambique

By Arsenio Manhice | March 25, 2013

Arsenio Manhice/EGPAF

Recently in Mozambique, EGPAF supported numerous health sites as they recovered from devastating floods in Gaza Province in the southern region of the country.

The floods began on January 23 as a result of the Limpopo River – which is shared by Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe – overflowing its banks. The floodwaters affected the districts of Chókwè, Guijá, Massangene, Chibuto, and the capital city of Gaza Province, Xai-Xai; roads, schools, shops, and health sites were destroyed.

The most affected health sites were the health centers of Chókwè City; Carmelo; Barragem; Chaluquane; and Chókwè Rural Hospital, where EGPAF is implementing projects to combat HIV and AIDS. At the Chókwè City site, EGPAF assists approximately 4,100 people living with HIV, and more than 3,600 patients who are living with HIV in Guijá depend on EGPAF and the Ministry of Health for assistance.

Thousands of people, including many children and pregnant women living with HIV, lost their possessions, including medicines, during the disaster. For weeks, they were unable to reach the sites to get the care and treatment they require. Many were moved to safer areas opened by the government and local nongovernmental organizations, but were unable to receive health care and medicines for over a month. The health sites themselves lost many clinical supplies, databases, and furniture.

“We lost important equipment and documents,” Eugênia Duzenta, program officer for EGPAF in Chókwè district, said. “Now we have to buy new materials.”

Since the beginning of the floods, EGPAF has allocated resources to help the victims and the provincial government of Gaza. EGPAF’s assistance was used to support travel for staff and purchase much-needed materials for health care, hygiene, and cleaning.

In addition, EGPAF showed its continued commitment to healthcare by contracting 20 local people to clean the health sites. The cleaning process started on February 21 at the Health Center of Chókwè City, the main health care site for people living with HIV and AIDS. In addition, the cleaners worked at the health center in Barragem and Chókwè Rural Hospital. As a result of that work, the health units are now open for health care.

“With the people contracted by EGPAF, the cleaning process was quick and effective,” Laura Afonso Luis, director of the Health Center of Chókwè City, said. “Now we are reopening, and we can receive patients for health care.”

Arsenio Manhice is Communication & Advocacy Officer for the Foundation, based in Mozambique.