Maputo — The Mozambican Ministry of Health announced on Monday that it has enough stocks of Covid-19 tests as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health staff for the first six months of this year.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference, the National Director of Medicines and Medical Supplies, Antonio Assane, said that further procurement is under way to ensure that adequate quantities are available for the second half of the year, taking into account the current levels of consumption, which have greatly increased because of the sudden surge of Covid-19 cases since the end of 2020.
"We faced some difficulties, but today we have enough stocks for the period up until May-June, taking into account the current levels of consumption, but further procurement is under way to ensure additional supplies of tests lasting until December," Assane said.
After the outbreak of the pandemic, Assane said the ministry had to redesign its needs. Prior to the pandemic, the Ministry only purchased three million surgical masks a year, but with Covid-19 the annual needs have soared to 131 million.
The face masks, he said, are meant to be distributed not only to the health staff but also the in-patient and the community health caregivers. "Now we can supply the health staff at various levels for the next six months. Distribution has been carried out across the country and we are working on a replenishing plan for the provinces", he said.
As for the N95 masks specifically used to protect health staff at the Covid-19 treatment centres, Assane said the ministry's planning pointed to a need for six million a years. So far 40 per cent have been distributed and restocking is ongoing, as the number of cases grows.
He stressed that the ministry had initially planned to use 210,000 white overalls and up until now 142,000 have been delivered. The ministry is expecting to finish on Monday the picking up of a shipment with 327,000 overalls.
The ministry has about 190,000 visors (face shields), although initially only 63,000 were planned. "We can afford to hand out three visors for each professional, not only those at the health units, but everyone working for the ministry of health."
Assane downplayed any allegations about PPE shortage, claiming that work is underway with the health units to ensure delivery of the equipment and to monitor distribution.
He thought there were no grounds for compliant about PPE. "It's new material", said Assane. "If you go to the Polana Canico hospital (which contains Maputo city's main Covid-19 isolation ward), that's where the greatest pressure is, and there's no problem at all".