The second phase of Massive Vaccination ended last week in Mozambique. Up to 19 August, 1,864,229 people had been vaccinated, compared to about 17 million people eligible to vaccinate nationwide, according to the National Vaccination Plan (PNV).
This phase took place particularity at a troubled time, with Mozambique recording high numbers of daily deaths, with an average of 30 people fatally victimized by Covid-19 – as well as the growth in the number of contaminated people, with approximately 1,000 infections per day.
This phase, however, is not only marked by the high number of deaths and contaminations. It is also characterized by the lack of clarity and transparency in the vaccination process.
This scenario has been putting the National Health System (SHS) on the verge of collapse, a fact that is evidenced by the lack of beds, as well as the lack of tests in several health units in the country.
This second phase of vaccination was not transparent, and the Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS) underlined, among several aspects, the occurrence of illegal charges, lack of communication and lack of portable brigades for the flexibilization of the process. In some health units, a total of 1,000 meticais were charged to those who wanted to take a vaccine against Covid-19. On the other hand, through the government entities themselves, it was announced the sale of vaccination cards.
The Citizen Observatory for Health believes that the Ministry of Health (MISAU) should take measures to end these acts which, in addition to ruining the process, call into question the fight against Covid-19.
MISAU was supposed to have evaluated the errors that occurred in the first phase, so that they would not be repeated in the second phase. If that had been done, the lives of thousands of citizens would have been preserved and the spread of the virus could have been decreased. A control committee needs to be set up to control corruption and those who are involved in the process.
First phase: errors and solutions
The National Vaccination Plan provided, among several activities, the setting of portable brigades in various parts of the country, in order to reach more citizens. This is a fact that has not been seen in every first phase of vaccination in Mozambique.
Under this plan, which began on March 8, until the 12th of the same month, with a continuity planned for 29 March to 2 April, it was planned that mobile brigades would be set to reach more citizens, especially in the most remote areas.
The NHS should have set more remote areas, where people most in need reside. However, this reality was not seen, which means it was ignored the principle that National Vaccination Plan should reach everyone, including the most vulnerable people.
A large part of the population lives far from health centers. So the greater the mobility, the greater the risk of transmission.
The solution would be to place the testing close to the citizen, since the quick detection of the virus is also a strategy for the inclusion of patients in the treatment and home isolation, thus reducing the pressure in hospitals, in which the citizen must go to take the test, after a lot of barriers.
Lack of material contributes to the deterioration of the scenario
This phase is also marked by the lack of tests. It is important to stress that the government received USD 79,540,347.59, of which USD 43,894,897 in cash, and USD 35,645,450.98 in things.
The lack of tests may contribute to the deterioration of the Covid-19 scenario in Mozambique. The government must invest and create testing mechanisms for the country, always fighting against illegal charges.
In some health facilities in Mozambique’s capital, the Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS) found out, for example, that only 20 people are tested daily.
The question is: where do the other citizens who cannot take the test go? One solution has been, on the part of some, “jumping” from hospital to hospital in search of flexible testing. This scenario is unfortunate in a country where most of the inhabitants lives on less than $1 a day. Would this citizen be able to go to the private sector to test?
The Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS) stresses the need to make efforts to have more testes. Testing massification can be the solution.
The availability of supplies such as tests, masks, alcohol and other medications, in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices, has a positive impact on the response plan to Covid-19. The opposite creates a situation of uncertainty. Since the problem of material occurred mainly in other provinces outside the capital of Mozambique, it is crucial that MISAU must put in action an inclusive plan for the distribution these.
Communication plan may have failed
The first phase of covid-9 vaccination was marked by an abstention of about 23,000 people, who would have taken the first dose and, however, did not proceed to the second.
MISAU can solve these problems by creating a more effective communication plan so that more citizens can be aware of the need to take the vaccine. We also believe there is a need to monitor seriously those who are vaccinated, through the allocation of mobile brigades.
However, the fight against Covid-19 requires more fruitful measures from the government, reaching various sectors, with a greater focus on transport, where crowded citizens are always seen.
The question here is: What has the government done to eradicate corrupt practices in this process? What has been done with the professionals involved in these cases?
In Niassa, for example, covid-19 vaccination sites are not identified. People receive the information through strange people, lacking transparency.