Mozambique

Mozambique: Global Fund boost for HIV/AIDS programmes

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JOHANNESBURG, 25 February (PLUSNEWS) - Mozambique's HIV/AIDS programme received a boost recently with the announcement of a US $54 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria.
The country's coordinating mechanism (CCM) submitted a proposal which sought to scale-up existing government, community and NGO projects over five years.

Mozambique, one of the world's poorest countries, has one of the world's highest HIV infection rates, officially at 12.2 percent.

Welcoming the Global Fund grant, UNAIDS HIV/AIDS programme officer, Minna Tuominen, said the country had submitted a "very comprehensive" plan which covered community and school based programmes, the establishment of youth friendly clinics, condom promotion, home-based care services and antiretroviral treatment.

"When we get the money, it will definitely benefit all the provinces ... it was a huge proposal," she told PlusNews.

One of the interventions proposed by the Mozambican CCM is the establishment of integrated health networks. Health care centres will provide essential services such as voluntary counselling and testing, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and opportunistic infections, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes.

Antiretroviral treatment will be provided in 22 clinics covering 20,000 patients. Some of the centres will also act as focal points for home-based care initiatives.

According to Tuominen, all these services will be integrated into existing health care infrastructure. "Our vision is to set up 50 [integrated health networks]," she added.

The involvement of NGOs was crucial, as the implementation of these projects would depend on them, Tuominen said. Local NGO, the Mozambican Association for the Development of the Family (AMODEFA), is one such organisation.

AMODEFA has been given responsibility for coordinating the scaling up of youth-friendly clinics in and around Maputo, AMODEFA's Alexandre Muianga told PlusNews. "We educate young people [about HIV/AIDS and STDs] and also train nurses. We also give HIV/AIDS tests and counselling."

While there was a major prevention component in the proposal, the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs) had received an equal amount of attention, Tuominen noted.

But Irene Cossa, counselling and home-based care coordinator for the country's network of PWAs - Kindlimuka - would like to see this translated into more effective action.

"I would like to see the money used for medication. Before we used to talk about prevention, but nowadays what we need more is treatment. Many people are infected and we need medicine to help us PWAs live longer and also nutritional support," she told PlusNews.

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