More than 1.2 million people urgently need health assistance in Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique where recent armed attacks sparked further population displacement and deepened a protracted humanitarian crisis.
Violence and insecurity have damaged or forced shut nearly a third of the province’s 132 health facilities, depriving communities of basic health services and sparking emergency health needs for HIV, malaria and tuberculosis treatment as well as vaccination and safe delivery among internally displaced persons and host communities. Cholera prevention, COVID-19 response and provision of mental and psychosocial health services are also critically needed.
“The plight of thousands of families is worsening, and many of the violence-affected people depend on humanitarian aid for survival. We must swiftly step up assistance to save lives and alleviate suffering,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “We call for increased donor support to provide critical health services and other relief supplies that are desperately needed.”
Humanitarian needs have increased following the armed attacks in March in Cabo Delgado’s Palma District that forced 52 000 people to flee their homes. Some US$ 3.5 million are needed to provide health assistance. WHO has mobilized US$ 1.77 million to support the government and partner organizations in the emergency response.
The Organization is ramping up health assistance and has set up three cholera treatment centres and built a provisional health centre to cater for internally displaced persons and the host community in Chiuri District in Cabo Delgado and deployed 17 staff to Pemba District. WHO has also provided essential health supplies, including cholera treatment and trauma kits.
“There is an urgent need to ensure full access to essential health services in all accessible districts and to establish mechanisms to improve the health access to all vulnerable people in hard-to-reach districts,” said Dr Joaquim Saweka, WHO Representative in Mozambique.
WHO is revising its response plan and will deploy additional human and material resources to Cabo Delgado and other health emergency hotspots in the country as soon as additional resources are mobilized.
Cabo Delgado has been affected by recurrent armed attacks since 2017. The province was also affected by Cyclone Kenneth in 2019 that destroyed infrastructure, including health facilities. The disaster was worsened by cholera and measles outbreaks, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding to the health challenges.