Mozambique: In Mozambique, New Clinic and Training Center Strengthens Capacity (July 2009)

Recently, the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center and partners at the Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM) and the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania celebrated the opening of a new HIV/AIDS clinic and training center in Mozambique.

Renovated with support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), St. Luke's Health Center officially opened its doors on June 17, 2009.

This center works to expand accessibility of high quality primary care and HIV/AIDS services to people in the Sofala Province.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Peter Millard of UCM's Faculty of Medicine said, "We have partnered with the Ministry of Health to create a vital service for the local community, as well as a critical opportunity for current and future healthcare workers in Mozambique to learn important clinical skills. St. Luke's will deliver HIV treatment in a primary care setting, which will help reduce stigma, improve accessibility, and provide 'one stop shopping' for many patients who would otherwise face long waits at the central hospital."

While the clinic site was undergoing lengthy renovations, partners focused on faculty and curriculum development through an extensive series of professional exchanges and trainings conducted in both Mozambique and the United States.

St. Luke's will "serve as a center of excellence, teaching current and future healthcare workers the planned care model, a cutting edge medical practice used to care for patients with chronic diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, hypertension, and diabetes," said Dr. Millard.

With U.S. Government support, the University of Pittsburgh sought donations of medical equipment and supplies, arranging for two 40-foot containers of materials valued at nearly $85,000 to be shipped to Beira in November 2008.

For the UCM partners, the twinning partnership - and the donated equipment and supplies - have translated into improved capacity to meet the underserved needs of people in their community, both now and in the future, as more clinicians and allied caregivers are trained.

"The support we are getting from the American people, the Twinning Center, and our partners in Pittsburgh is greatly enhancing our capacity to deliver quality health services," said UCM Vice Chancellor Fr. P. Francisco Ponsi. "The clinic is an excellent contribution to Mozambique's health system. Not only will it help us to assist people in the neighboring community, it will also serve as a training ground and enable us to launch an internship program for graduate-level medical students."

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