In Mozambique, the Covid-19 pandemic has been testing the National Health System (SNS) to the limits of its capacity. So far, hundreds of health professionals in the so-called frontline, including doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, servants, guards, have been infected by SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
As it is necessary to contain the spread of the disease, reduce community transmission and minimise the impact of Covid-19, specifically in the health sector, the Ministry of Health decided to adopt a series of measures, including the inclusion of health and lay counselors in the group of sstaff who are to receive the protection kits.
Consequently, the Observatório do Cidadão para Saúde (OCS) has joined other civil society organisations in applauding the recent measure taken by the Health Minister, Armindo Tiago, to extend access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to health activists and lay counselors, announced through Circular No. 1 / GMS / 2021, of 5 February, on Covid-19 mitigation measures in the health sector.
Civil society organisations working in the field of health see the inclusion of activists and lay counselors as a major victory. Remember that the presidential decrees on the State of Emergency did not contemplate the inclusion of community health workers, which is why the OCS has been calling on MISAU on the need to give support to health activists, especially since community health workers are also part of essential services, with a strong contribution towards universal access to health.
CSOs also want to welcome the fact that MISAU recognises that community health activists are not just Polivalent Agents (APES), under the tutelage of the ministry.
However, CSOs hope that the measures announced by MUSAU will not only apply to Greater Maputo, but will extend to the entire country, and it is necessary to draft a plan for the remaining provinces.
More: the identification of risk groups among health professionals so that they are not placed on the front line is of note. However, CSOs request MISAU to extend the criterion to community health workers as well.
CSOs also call on MISAU to include community health workers among the first group, including health professionals, to benefit from vaccines as soon as they are available in the country.
Finally, CSOs call on MISAU to ensure recognition of the inclusion of community health activists through publication in a decree in the next Boletim da República (the official gazette).