In Beira City, provincial capital of Sofala, HIV/AIDS patients are daily forced to travel long distances to have access to medicines and medical assistance in the health unit.
This factor, related to high public transport charges, is a barrier to the medical care.
The findings come from Castaneja Tomo, an activist working at Anandjira Association, for at least two years.
Tomo – who divides her days between the health unit and her home – has been facing a lot of things in the corridors of hospitals, including the hospital dropout by patients.
“Patients have to travel long distances to get to the health units. Transport costs are another barrier, which we see during our activities”, she says.
On the other hand, she adds that “patients have to face the long queue in the health units.”
To motivate patients to continue with the treatment and, as a way to contribute to their well-being, Anandjira has been holding lectures in the communities.
“It is my huge passion to guide people to make a better decision about their state of health. We have been noticing an adherence to the antiretroviral treatment”, says the activist, stressing that “this is quite enjoyable for me.”
Tomo also points out that the main goal is to accompany patients in antiretroviral treatment, in order to ensure that they are continuously assisted in health units.
“These activities reduce treatment abandonments”, she explains.
“We want a more humanized health system”
Another problem that saddens the activist is linked to the “lack of equipment and systems to assist HIV-positive patients”
Walking through the corridors of Beira’s health units, Tomo has seen many cruel acts committed by health providers.
To prevent providers from continuing to mistreat patients, the activist has been implementing training actions to change the situation.
“Anandjira members have been supporting the implementation and the training of health providers on positive prevention issues”, she says.
Tomo also stresses that her organization has been supporting health providers in sexual behavior care, encouraging them to reveal their health status to their partners, adhering to antiretroviral treatment and family planning.
“Because of the Covid-19, these trainings have not been happening, unfortunately. That’s why we end up staying away from young people, who are also our target group in health units and communities”, explains the activist.
Lack of Staff in the National Health System (NHS) persists
According to Tomo, the lack of professionals in the health sector has been one of the biggest barriers persisting.
“We have found that the NHS continues to address the lack of skilled staff, as well as the lack of spaces for the expansion of health services.”
Her relationship with the employees in the health units, at first, was difficult but over time, over two years working in the Anandjira association, it improved.
“Today, health professionals seek our help in communicating with patients, because they believe that we practice a good job to connect the community to the health units. It’s very health to see that they don’t see us as their enemies”, she concludes.