A Message from Nazeem Muhajarine and Jessie Forsyth

Mozambique Project office Inhambane – methods to avoid COVID 19 virus

Like many other organizations  across the world, the Mozambique Canada Maternal Health Project has identified ways we can respond to the COVID 19 pandemic.

There is a fast changing situation in Mozambique. Here is the latest update.

On March 22/20, Mozambique announced its first confirmed COVID-19 case; that number has since risen to seven (as of March 26). The country is taking precautions—for example, schools closed on March 23 for 30 days, gatherings larger than 50 have been banned, entry visas are not being issued, returning travellers are instructed to self-isolate for 14 days, and health authorities at all levels are asked to mobilize, prepare and respond to the pandemic. (For ongoing COVID-19 updates in Mozambique, see covid19.ins.gov.mz.)

The changes to and in our project are happening at three levels: internal to the team; in our programming, particularly with communities and health workers; and in our partnership with the Inhambane Province Department of Health.

We want you to be aware of the care and attention that has gone into making these proposed changes, all of which are aimed at bolstering preventive measures – amongst ourselves, in our work and project activities, and in our families and wider communities – and slowing the spread of the virus.

In daily project operations in Inhambane, the team is beginning to work remotely whenever possible and practice social distancing while increasing preventive practices in the office space. This includes providing soap and water for handwashing before entering the office and minimizing in-person interactions at the office.

The key changes to project activities are aimed at scaling up prevention by reducing group interactions and increasing COVID-19 education. They include the following:

– Incorporating COVID-19 prevention teaching into all activities that continue;

– Community area: major scale back, putting all monthly community meetings on hold as of April 1; Community  Support Workers will continue to meet with small groups to disseminate COVID-19 information and preventive materials (soap, bleach, wash bins where necessary, etc.) and support ongoing work (microprojects, staying informed about the status of women who are pregnant in their communities, etc.); school interventions are on hold;

– Training: all continuing education training courses are on hold; dissemination of materials to HFs will continue because those activities involve only 1 or 2 people and can be incorporated into our support to the Department of Health, including providing COVID-19 prevention education;

– Construction: will continue as planned for as long as possible; the Environmental Coordinator will do prevention education sessions at each construction site and ensure workers are using masks (as per contractors’ health and safety guidelines); we’ll supply mosquito nets (to help maintain the general health on construction sites) as four cases of malaria have already been reported;

– Research: the elements not involving face-to-face interaction will continue (ie. MES transcription/translation and data analysis); other research activities will be re-thought out and re-planned for now.

Simultaneously, we are actively working with the Provincial Department of Health to find appropriate ways of assisting them through this crisis.

We’re sharing this to keep you abreast of our thinking and planning as it evolves.

We want to thank the management team in Inhambane for the leadership and modeling they are showing in these difficult times.  

In closing, we ask you to take care of yourselves, to stay safe and healthy, and to look after each other.