Mozambique

Project HOPE Update: Medical Humanitarian Assistance to Mozambique

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Overview
Project HOPE is accepting donations of cash and medicines to aid the people of Mozambique, which is experiencing its most destructive and devastating flooding ever. The first shipment of essential pharmaceuticals and medical supplies is planned for March-April. HOPE has worked in southern Africa for more than 10 years, and has long-term health programs and country staff in Mozambique, to coordinate the relief effort.

Background

Weeks of torrential flooding and cyclones in Mozambique have claimed many lives and left an estimated one million citizens homeless and without access to the most basic needs. Subsistence crops throughout southern and central Mozambique have been wiped out, and the next growing season is threatened.

As floodwaters begin to recede, Mozambique is facing even worse aftereffects of the flooding. Health services are overwhelmed by the number of patients in the affected areas. Drug stocks are running low and there is a serious shortage of health staff. The flooding has contaminated drinking water, produced overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions, and created good sites for mosquitoes to breed. As a result, tens of thousands of people are reported to have contracted malaria. Relief workers and health officials in Mozambique now believe that a cholera epidemic is breaking out among the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods. There is also a threat of diseases such as meningitis, infectious diarrhea, and eye infections. The death toll from all of these secondary effects of the flooding is likely to exceed that from drowning, especially among young children.

Response

The Government of Mozambique has requested medical aid to combat the imminent health crisis. Immediate needs for those who have had their livelihoods and health destroyed by the floods include antibiotics, antimalarials, intravenous fluids, and ophthalmologic preparations, as well as medical equipment to replenish the clinics destroyed by the floods.

Project HOPE is working with Mozambique's coordinating body for the disaster response, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), and the national Ministry of Health (MOH) to identify types and quantities of medicines and supplies most urgently needed in the affected areas. As HOPE has done in previous humanitarian assistance campaigns, donations of these products are now being solicited from leading pharmaceutical and other health care companies.

HOPE plans to assemble the first shipment over the next two to three weeks, and send it by ocean freight, for arrival in Mozambique in April. Subsequent medical aid will be secured and delivered as needs and resources dictate. We have opted to use ocean freight for the first shipment because, given present chaotic conditions, dependable storage and transportation and distribution systems in country will require several weeks to arrange.

Project HOPE currently has a staff and long-term programs in Mozambique (see below) and close relationships with the central Ministry of Health. Since donation coordination will run through the INGC, we will work with this agency, as well as UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross, the MOH, and other appropriate groups.

HOPE in Mozambique

Project HOPE has been active in Mozambique since 1997. We have worked closely with the MOH and community-based organizations in providing primary health care services in areas where the Ministry is unable to easily reach all populations. This has included immunization activities, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, and training of community members to address child survival through diarrhea control, malaria management, and other preventable diseases. HOPE has also contributed to the training of medical and nursing staff in primary health care management.