The HIV/AIDS epidemic hit Mozambique later than many of the surrounding countries, which has allowed the opportunity to stop the advancement of the disease with already acquired knowledge. The most populous province, Zambezia has among the highest rates of infection in the country, with minimal health services and no options for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) until last year. Yet Zambezia has become an excellent example of concentrated efforts among a variety of agencies and partners.
In September 2004 an Emergency Plan grant resulted in the creation of Zambezia's first PMTCT site. Since then, seven additional sites in four districts around the province have opened.
Much of the success of this PMTCT project was the result of teamwork with the Ministry of Health, the Zambezia Provincial Health Department, and a host of local organizations. Technical assistance is also being provided to the Ministry of Women and Social Action to develop a monitoring and evaluation system of orphans and other vulnerable children, which closely links up with PMTCT.
The program has been able to expand in many directions to include a variety of other program areas and target groups. Among its accomplishments is the inclusion of men in counseling and testing services, despite a male reluctance to participate mother and child health services. Thus far, almost 150 men have undergone testing within PMTCT sites in Zambezia. It has also introduced counseling and testing in two referral hospitals allowing for 300 women to receive counseling and 100 pregnant women to begin a full course of neviropine.
PMTCT programs in Zambezia, with assistance from The Emergency Plan, have become a proven model for tackling the disease in Mozambique through the alliance of ministries, provincial government, local and international NGOs, and faith-based organizations. This community-based teamwork has been essential for creating an effective model that can be quickly duplicated to confront HIV/AIDS throughout the country.
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