Dr Nurja, the head of the DREAM clinic in Mozambique, answered our questions about the situation of the pandemic in the country.
What is the situation of the pandemic in Mozambique?
Mozambique was considered one of the countries in Africa with the highest increase in the number of covid-19 cases in the first 2 months of 2021.
Is the situation also worse because of the new covid strain from South Africa?
It certainly is. In the year 2020 there were few cases but with the relaxing of some preventive measures at the end of the year and the arrival of tourists from South Africa, the number of cases increased considerably. This year there are a lot of cases.
What measures has the government adopted to prevent the risk of infection?
The government has taken several preventive measures to see whether the number of cases decreases. The schools were closed until last week, places of worship are still closed and there is a curfew from 9.00 pm to 4.00 am. The markets are closed on Sundays, liquors stores close at 1.00 pm and funerals are very limited.
What is the situation of Mozambique’s healthcare systems?
Since the cases are increasing in Mozambique, we need to increase the capacity to screen, diagnose and treat covid. There are the hospitals for moderate to severe patients, whereas mild patients are treated in outpatient centres. We also have telephone lines to answer patients’ questions and give them medical advice and the guidelines regarding what they have to do.
How has the DREAM programme managed with this emergency? And how is the programme’s ordinary work in the country going?
The DREAM programme has been committed to fighting the pandemic from the very beginning. The DREAM centres have had to adapt to the new reality. Everybody in the centres have to wear a mask, people wash their hands when they come into the centre, their temperature is taken and they are registered. We have an office for patients with suspected covid-19. We collect and process samples for the covid-19 test and they are then sent to INS-MISAU. The patient receives a message on their cell phone with the result and the centre receives the result by email and directly on the DREAM system, which helps us follow-up and treat the patient properly.
What is the role of DREAM in the fight against the virus in Mozambique? And how has its work changed since the beginning of the pandemic?
We are committed to the fight, we are working together with the MISAU and we do covid tests for the central region of the country in the DREAM centre in Beira.
What about vaccines? Can you bring us up to date on the situation of the vaccines in Mozambique? What suggestions can you give the competent authorities?
The vaccination campaign has started in the country and the healthcare personnel have been vaccinated. But there is also a plan to extend it to the elderly in nursing homes and also to people with diabetes who registered before the end of 2020.