Mozambique: Health Ministry Urges No Discrimination Over COVID-19

Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities on Wednesday urged all citizens to avoid any discrimination against or stigmatizing of people infected with the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.

Speaking at the Health Ministry’s daily press conference on the Covid-19 situation, the National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, warned that discrimination would have damaging effects, not only on Covid-19 patients, but on their families, friends, communities and care givers.

If stigma is attacked to Covid-19, that could make preventing the spread of the disease more difficult. People might be tempted to hide the symptoms of the disease, for fear that they would suffer discrimination.

The fact that the virus passes from person to person could lead to people casting blame for the disease onto others. Fear of discrimination might lead sick people to refuse to seek assistance from the health services. It could also contribute to patients breaking quarantine.

There was a danger of panic, arising from the trend of being fearful of anything that is new. “We all know that Covid-19 is a new disease, and for that reason it often raises doubts among people”, said Marlene. “So we appeal to everyone to come together in the struggle against discrimination and against Covid-19”.

Marlene announced that, since the start of the pandemic, 11,563 suspect cases have been tested in Mozambique, 324 of them in the previous 24 hours.

105 of these samples came from the northern province of Niassa, 77 from Maputo City, 57 from Maputo province, 60 from Tete, 11 from Cabo Delgado, eight from Sofala, five from Nampula, and one from Gaza.

315 of the samples tested negative, but nine were positive for Covid-19, bringing the total of known Covid-19 cases in the country to 316. All nine positive cases are Mozambican citizens. Four are asymptomatic, and five present mild to moderate symptoms.

Four of the new cases are from Niassa. The first case from Niassa was reported a week ago, in the district of Mavago. One of the new cases is also from Mavago, and is a contact of the first case.

But the other three are from Lago district, and so far it is not clear how they were infected. The Health Ministry says this transmission chain is under investigation.

The other five cases are from Maputo City. Three of them, a boy and two girls, are children under the age of 15. The other two are adult women.

In accordance with standard Ministry of Health procedures, all nine new cases have been placed in home isolation. Health staff are now tracing their contacts.

Marlene also reported that a further 11 Covid-19 patients have made a full recovery.10 of them are Mozambicans and the 11th is a United States citizen. This brings the total number of recovered cases to 109.

As of Wednesday, the geographical breakdown of the positive cases by province was as follows: Cabo Delgado, 146; Nampula, 61; Maputo City, 57; Maputo Province, 22; Sofala, 12; Niassa, five; Tete, four; Inhambane, 3; Gaza, 3; Zambezia, 2;Manica, one.

The key statistics for Covid-19 in Mozambique are: 316 positive cases, of whom 109 have made a full recovery. One Covid-19 patient remains hospitalized (in Inhambane province), and three have died. Two died of the disease itself and the third from an unrelated pathology.

 

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique