The U.S. plans to launch a program to train health care workers in Mozambique in an effort to strengthen the country's health system and fight HIV/AIDS and malaria, Mozambican Health Minister Ivo Garrido announced Wednesday after a meeting with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, AIM/AllAfrica.com reports.
Leavitt and several U.S. officials are on a 10-day tour of four African countries to highlight programs funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President's Malaria Initiative. Their first stop was South Africa, and they also plan to visit Rwanda and Tanzania.
Guebuza and Leavitt at the meeting discussed Mozambique's health infrastructure and ways to strengthen collaboration on health issues between the two countries. Garrido did not disclose further details on the training program but said priority will be given to health professionals working in rural areas in Mozambique.
"We believe that we can do a lot more in this area, being the reason our discussions gravitated around issues such as training of human recourses," Garrido said.
Mozambique has a total of about 800 doctors, and there is about one doctor for every 24,000 residents, according to Garrido. This ratio is "frankly bad, when we consider that on average the developed countries have one doctor for less than 1,000 inhabitants," he said.
Leavitt expressed his support for the country's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria, emphasizing that discussions held with Mozambican authorities will help both countries work together more closely. Current estimates show that Mozambique has an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 16.2%, and malaria is responsible for more than 40% of outpatient visits and 30% of deaths among people admitted to hospitals in the country.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation