(2013-05-11) A new initiative will be launched in June in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia to increase access to anti-retroviral treatments for those infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
According to the United States ambassador, Douglas Griffiths, the mobile health clinics will operate to expand services in rural areas, based on the experiences gained from similar units in the southern province of Gaza.
Speaking on Thursday during a ceremony to hand over three mobile clinics for Gaza province, Ambassador Griffiths said that “we began in Gaza but we are going to launch the same initiative in June in Zambezia”.
Griffiths pointed out that Gaza has the highest HIV rate in Mozambique, estimated to be 25.1 per cent.
The mobile clinics were donated by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to preventing paediatric HIV infection and eliminating paediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, prevention, care, and treatment programmes.
The Foundation received financial support from the US government through the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The mobile clinics have all the medical equipment needed to provide comprehensive treatment for those with the HIV virus, including the ability to test for the virus, test the number of CD4 cells in the bloodstream (these are the parts of the human immune system that HIV attacks), deal with pre-treatment issues and implement the anti-retroviral treatments.
The clinics also seek to provide an integrated service including prenatal care, the prevention of the vertical transmission of HIV, the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, and family planning.
The three clinics donated on Thursday each have two technicians, two counsellors and a driver, and will cover the districts of Bilene, Chibuto Mandlakaze. The clinics will visit communities within these districts for two week periods.
Mozambique has an ambitious target of providing anti-retroviral treatment to eighty per cent of those in need by 2015.
For Gaza province the target is also to cut by ninety per cent the number of new infections in children, reduce by half the number of maternal deaths caused by the pandemic, and provide anti-retroviral treatment for all HIV-positive pregnant women.
Since 2004 PEPFAR has spent over 1.3 billion US dollars on AIDS relief in Mozambique and supports the treatment of three out of every of four Mozambicans living with HIV/AIDS.