Maputo — The Mozambican government on Tuesday approved the National Plan for Preventing and Combatting Gender Based Violence,
Speaking to reporters at the end of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said the plan will run from 218 to 2021 and is budgeted at 24 million meticais (about 407,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates).
The plan, she said, is intended to promote a culture of peace, and thus strategically prioritises prevention, education and raising awareness.
Other priorities are responding to violence, improving the country's legal framework, and monitoring and assessing actions seeking to eliminate gender-based violence.
"It is expected that implementation of this plan can reduce the levels of violence and strengthen coordination and monitoring mechanisms", said Comoana.
The available statistics suggest an increase in domestic violence. In 2016, a total of 26,000 cases of domestic violence were reported, which compares with 20,000 cases reported in 2009.
"The idea is that we need a plan that can reduce these levels", said Comoana.
Comoana also announced that over 12,000 state employees did not present the obligatory annual "proof of life" in 2017. In order to ensure that the state only pays wages to people who really exist, every state employee must, in the month of their birthday, go in person to a specified government office to show that they are still alive.
In 2017, the government hoped that 335,825 state employees would produce "proof of life", but in fact only 323,748 did so - which was 96.4 per cent of the target. This does not necessarily mean that all the missing 12,077 are ghost workers. In some more remote areas, it may be difficult for workers to go in person to the relevant office.
Comoana said that only 513 of the missing employees have been suspended. The total monthly wages that they used to receive came to around 28.7 million meticais (487,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates). She said that the situation of each of the other 11,564 is still being confirmed.
The Council of Ministers also received a report on the current state of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Comoana said that the number of people living with HIV in 2017 was about 2.12 million, but the number of new infections has fallen from 500 (the estimate for 2016) to 356 a day. The number of confirmed deaths from AIDS had fallen by 20 per cent, and the rate of vertical transmission of HIV from mothers to their unborn children had fallen from 17 to 14 per cent.
The 2017 data indicate that 170,000 children are living with HIV, and that year 120,000 pregnant women were HIV positive.
The most recent national survey was the Survey on Indicators of Immunization, Malaria and HIV/AIDS (IMASIDA), carried out by the National Health Institute in 2015, which estimated HIV prevalence at 13.2 per cent of people aged between 15 and 49.