On March 14, 2019 Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique’s port city of Beira, substantially damaging ~80% of local infrastructure and leaving the two central provinces of Mozambique in a state of emergency. In the days that followed, flooding, food shortages, and lack of secure housing continued to add to the overall public health burden of the cyclone.
With an established presence in Beira and 30+ years of experience working alongside local health authorities in the two most affected provinces, Health Alliance International was well positioned and ready to join the response.
An often overlooked, yet critical component of disaster response is to make sure that vehicles with a key public service function are able and ready to keep moving. Repairing a damaged truck may not seem like a high-priority response activity, but when that truck is responsible for delivering critical relief medications and supplies to multiple health units across affected regions, the downstream burden of a broken truck begins to multiply.
Nobody knows this to be true more than the local health authorities responsible for managing Mozambique’s medical supply chain. Fortunately, HAI’s established presence in Beira meant we had vehicles (thankfully not impacted by the cyclone) that could be quickly loaned to Sofala’s Provincial Health System. By responding to this high-priority request, we are helping to make sure that medicines and supplies can go where they are needed most. In the meantime, HAI is working closely with provincial and district health authorities to fund the repair of priority health system vehicles.
In early May, HAI was also able to procure an additional vehicle, driver, and necessary fuel for Sofala’s Provincial Health Service to participate in Mozambique’s annual National Health Week Campaign. This year the campaign — led by the Ministry of Health, WHO, and UNICEF — aimed at providing vaccination, maternal and child health, and nutrition services to ~435,000 Mozambicans.
Lastly, HAI is continuing to raise funds to replace and/or add patient transport vehicles in the especially hard-hit districts of Buzi and Beira, where Cyclone Idai will continue to have long-term impacts on the health of local communities.
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Photos Courtesy of HAI Staff and Direct Relief (Karoline Albuquerque)