Following the invitation from the World Health Organization representative in Mozambique, Dra Djamila Cabral, key partners arrived in Beira in a joint field mission to assess the health situation in Beira and follow up on the progress made so far in responding to the health needs of people affected by Cyclone Idai.
During the field visit, WHO Staff deployed in Beira was accompanied by Ms Caroline Delany, (Canada High Commissioner in Mozambique), Ms Adrijana Corluka (Deputy Director Health for the Canadian High Commission) Charlotte Duncan (Deputy head of DIFD in Maputo) and Tom Edward (Minister counsellor at the Embassy of Norway in Mozambique).
The visit provided an opportunity for partners to take a first-hand look at response efforts to support the people in Beira, capital of Sofala, the most affected province by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.
Dr Nelson Duarte, General surgeon at the Central Hospital in Beira received the partners to show them the damages in the hospital and highlighted that "in the maternity area the rooftop was destroyed, we even had to take all the babies out of the room as the water level was increasing quickly and we needed to put them in a safer place".
Partners had also the chance to interact directly with local health authorities and district and facility level implementers to get a real impact and witness the ongoing health challenges. The permanent provincial secretary in Beira, Dr Rui Manuel Nonlipa, encouraged partners to keep supporting Beira as "without the international support we received, we wouldn't have been able to recover the way we did after Cyclone Idai" -he said.
WHO joint action under the leadership of the Ministry of Health goes further in the recovery phase following Idai: Mental Health is also a very relevant topic being covered and partners had a meeting with Dr Marina Kariaginis and Dr Priscilla Filimone, representing the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Directorate. They confirmed that after a traumatic experience such as cyclone Idai mental health is a key issue towards the recovery of the province in the coming months.
WHO together with the Canada High Commission, DFID and the representation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Norway, visited also the accommodation centres to get close impressions from the people staying there in order to further discuss concrete short-term and long-term recommendations.
This interactive visit enhances understanding of the sector operational realities and promotes the process of building of real-time evidence to restore to the maximum capacity the health care services in the affected provinces, including immunization, basic treatment for common illnesses, malnutrition and maternal care while ensuring the ongoing supply of medications for people living with HIV, tuberculosis or diabetes.