Despite the daily disclosure of new infections, deaths, cases of recovered patients and active infections, as well as tests performed, deeper data on the management of the Covid-19 pandemic remains inaccessible in Mozambique.
The little information, published by the Ministry of Health (MISAU), illustrates serious problems in the management of the pandemic, just over a year after the first case was announced.
In the first wave of Covid-19, the health sector was under slight pressure and the government stated that it was lacking preparation to respond to the problem.
With the outbreak of the second wave, apparently no lesson was learned from the first. The pressure, which had already been predicted, found the National Health System (NHS) unprepared once again.
Today, Mozambique is witnessing the third wave which – like the others – questions the ability of the NHS on mobilizing mechanisms to deal with the pandemic.
Let’s see that the City and Province of Maputo – regions that contribute the most to new daily infections and hospitalizations – have only 623 beds, 40 are in Maputo Province and 583 in Maputo City.
Therefore, in 19 days of the third wave – seen as the most severe, with an average of 1 000 cases of infections daily and twenty deaths – the MISAU sounded the alarm. At the time, on July 20, the beds of the hospital units dealing with the Covid-19 in Maputo Province were crowded. Maputo City, in turn, had 57% of the beds occupied.
In a few days, the scenario worsened. From Maputo’s Central Hospital, patients with Covid-19 began to share the same beds, a situation caused by a lack of space in the Transitional Centre. On the subject, the National Director of Medical Assistance, Luísa Panguene, did not deny or accept the issue. She said, in a press statements that “it may be possible due to pressure.”
“70% of patients with the new Coronavirus arrived at health units in serious condition”, said the director, repeating the usual expression “we will work to solve the problem.”
What is lived in Maputo is similar to what is happening throughout the country. Tete – seen as the gateway to the Delta variant and with a capacity of 38 beds – has always been on the brink of collapse. Since the beginning of the third wave.
A worst-case scenario is in Sofala. Due to the weakness and pressure that characterizes the sector, there are professionals who assist positive patients at home.
The complaint was made by whom would have the role of responding to the problem: the Secretary of State of Sofala, Stela Zeca. The leader said that they are “positive people who remain in their homes for fear to going to the health units for proper follow-up. They are people who have the conditions for home care.”
The leader stressed, however, that these cases “result in deaths outside the health units.”
Taking into account the arguments Stela Zeca, we raise the following reflection: people do not trust the response of the NHS. Several questions need to be answered: “Who and how many are these people? Who are they served by? Where does the material come from to help them at home? Is Covid-19 case attendance allowed? Is this model (home care) an outlet for the stocking of inpatient centers? What risks does it represent?”
Perhaps the biggest questions are the following: when will the health sector be minimally prepared? What is the current capacity for hospitalization? What has been done, from a preparation point of view, during the “low tense” periods to ensure stability in the response to Covid-19?
It is a dramatic scenario, visible in a sector that received 79,540,347.59 USD, of which USD 43,894,897 in cash, and USD 35,645,450.98 material things. MISAU has to justify itself to Mozambican people.