Assessments Published on Central Mozambique as COVID-19 Cases are on the Rise: IOM

Posted: 
07/14/20
Themes: 
COVID-19

While concerted COVID-19 prevention efforts in Mozambique have clearly slowed the spread of the disease, case numbers rising yesterday above 1,200, double the number from one month ago, demonstrate the urgency of continued preventative efforts.

In order to provide an update on the status of prevention measures, impact of the disease and to inform the planning of further interventions, IOM recently published two COVID-19 assessment reports focused on the central Mozambique provinces of Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia.

The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report: COVID-19 Impact Assessment in the Central Region of Mozambique offers an overview of the pandemic’s impact. Conducted at the administrative post level, the report presents data on public awareness, status of healthcare services, access to services, employment and businesses, mobility restrictions, and returnees from abroad. Data was collected through interviews with representatives of more than 150 administrative posts.

Of the key informants interviewed: more than half (52%) reported price increases, and 36 per cent reported product shortages, noting food and personal hygiene products as the most affected; 27 per cent reported job losses affecting most of the people in their area. One quarter reported that most business in their administrative post have closed and lack the ability to re-open.

Nearly all (97%) reported having received information about COVID-19 campaigns. However, 22 per cent believe that those with the disease might hide their status for fear of stigma. Nearly all (95%) reported that public primary healthcare centres are functional, and 80 per cent stated that mobile health brigades are functional, but only 48 per cent reported having access to public hospitals.

A further IOM DTM report: COVID-19 Preparedness Assessment in the Resettlement Sites Report, now in the fifth round, presents data on preparedness and awareness raising in the 72 resettlement sites in Central Mozambique, where over 95,000 individuals, displaced by Cyclone Idai and floods in 2019, currently reside.

Actions for COVID-19 prevention and control have been taken in 97 per cent of resettlement sites and all sites report a noticeable change in behaviours toward COVID-19 prevention. However, the need for further preparedness is ongoing: just 65 per cent of the assessed sites reported having personal protective supplies, and 61 per cent of sites indicate having new hand-washing stations with soap and water.

“The most vulnerable people, including those who have faced displacement, are at heightened risk of being affected by COVID-19, due to a lack of resources to protect themselves,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Laura Tomm-Bonde. “The impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods in these communities is tangible. These vulnerable communities need to be supported with information and tools to prevent COVID-19, and need further support to mitigate the wide-ranging economic and social impacts of the disease.”

These reports are published at a critical time; as of Tuesday, 14 July, nearly four months after the first COVID-19 was reported in Mozambique, there were a total of 1,268 COVID-19 cases—more than double the 583 cases reported one month ago (on 14 June).  The four central Mozambique provinces report a total of 105 cases as of yesterday, 13 July, with 87 active cases, and two reported deaths. Mozambique’s nation-wide state of emergency began on 30 March, and has been further extended until 31 July 2020.

Both IOM DTM reports were produced in collaboration with Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC). “Preparation is essential to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Before people in resettlement sites are affected, we need more resources to further implement protection and prevention measures,” said INGC Delegate for Sofala Province Teixeira Almeida.

“Prevention is the best measure – to inform communities of the risks, the need to wash hands, the importance of maintaining physical distance, and the importance of following the guidelines of the state of emergency decree. We need to work in coordination on prevention, with more comprehensive means to cover more people.”

IOM response has included the training of community activists at resettlement sites, who disseminate information about COVID-19 prevention. Sara Vasco, Community Activist in Bandua 2 Resettlement Site said: “We walk from house to house in the site and conduct sensitization and presentations. Residents of our site all are aware of COVID-19. The people understand and follow the guidance on how to prevent this disease, to wash hands with soap and water, use masks and keep a distance of 1.5 metres. Soap is difficult for many to obtain, so they use ashes to clean their hands. They know that people can’t crowd and need to wear a mask when they go to the water spout, or when visiting neighbours. Due to COVID-19 residents make efforts not to leave the site. If they do leave they must check in at the hospital upon return, and then spend 14 days in quarantine away from others inside their house.”

IOM response to COVID-19 in Mozambique includes tracking mobility restriction impacts, border points status mapping, risk communication and community engagement and infection prevention and control in resettlement sites and settlements for displaced persons. Further efforts include support to points of entry screening for cross-border truck drivers, procurement of personal protective equipment for points of entry and health facilities, and support to HIV/TB patients in resettlement sites for access to care and prevention.

IOM DTM in the central region of Mozambique is funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance and UK Department for International Development (DFID).

For more information please contact Sandra Black in IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email: sblack@iom.int

  • IOM Mobile Brigades spread information on COVID-19 prevention in resettlement sites in Sofala province, Mozambique. June 2020 IOM/William Baang.

  • IOM Mobile Brigades spread information on COVID-19 prevention in resettlement sites in Sofala province, Mozambique. June 2020 IOM/William Baang.