In this interview, Stéphane Foulo the MSF country director and Dr Ana Gabriela, an MSF medical doctor offer insight into the medical work with NTDs in Mozambique.
How is MSF addressing the health challenges relating to NTDs and the climate crisis in Mozambique?
Mozambique ranks as one of the two most at-risk countries of NTDs in Southern Africa and is among the top 10 globally for extreme climate shocks (unpredictable weather events affecting a community’s sustainability). Every year, cyclones become more frequent, and the population fears the dry season, which has become unpredictable both in intensity and duration.
Nampula is a region with extreme climate shocks, high poverty rates and some of the country's lowest access to education and healthcare. The area experiences a high prevalence of NTDs, which currently lack targeted medical care.
Since 2022, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, MSF teams have run a project in Mogovolas district in the province of Nampula. This project aims to address gaps in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neglected tropical diseases like lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantitis) and schistosomiasis, and vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue. MSF teams work with health workers from the Ministry of Health and with the community, which plays an essential role in implementing the project.
MSF is actively participating in national initiatives for surveillance and prevention of epidemics, such as the National Cholera Elimination Plan. Our team is also engaged in preparing for disasters, particularly extreme weather events like cyclones.
How does MSF's approach in Nampula ensure holistic and patient-centered healthcare?
The project is designed to be comprehensive, providing medical assistance, water and sanitation, and health promotion activities in the communities we serve.
‘People as partners’ is also an integral strategy in our project. This approach allows us to discuss and organise services together with the community, including through a steering committee.
Our teams are working to improve the monitoring and reporting of NTDs in the district. With the data available, we have mapped and tried to select the communities with the highest burden of these diseases. A strategy was implemented to provide a full package of health promotion, medical, water and sanitation activities by engaging the main community representatives and local leaders in the steering committee.
Engaging the community means members actively work with MSF teams to evaluate their healthcare needs, identify barriers, propose adapted and sustainable solutions and monitor activities.