At an event attended by 75 representatives of government and non-governmental partners, ARK marked the handover of our HIV care and treatment programme, which has improved the lives of more than 36,000 children.
"We are confident that ARK's impact will be felt for a long time, especially when we know that they are leaving better access, better quality and better care at lower cost for adults and children living with HIV/AIDS ," said Dr. António Assane, Mozambique's Director of National Medical Assistance.
Also attending the event was ARK Trustee Blaine Tomlinson, who noted, "I am proud to have invested my own money in supporting ARK's ambitious investment here. I went to visit some of the health centres where ARK supported the Ministry of Health and saw first-hand the work that ARK did to improve the quality of care and training of clinicians, counsellor, and data entry staff."
Mozambique has the second highest rate of new adult HIV infections in the world. In 2008, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, ARK launched a four-year programme in five health facilities in Maputo Province, aiming to put in place a sustainable model of care to keep HIV positive parents, carers and children alive. Many of ARK's innovations, such as a point of care testing programme that enabled quicker access to crucial CD4 blood tests, are being scaled throughout the country.
Another key component of ARK's work has been the training of medical technicians, nurses and health agents to monitor and prescribe life-saving ART drugs. Nurses far outnumber doctors in Mozambique so this task shifting allowed many more patients to be enrolled more quickly on treatment. Over the course of our programme, we trained and mentored 132 nurse and health workers, helping to enrol 17,764 new patients on ART.
The HIV programme is now in the hands of the Mozambican government, which is in the process of scaling up many of the innovations nationally. ARK continues to have a presence in Mozambique through a pilot SMS mobile phone programme, which uses text messages to remind HIV-positive patients to take their medication and educate mothers on how to reduce the risk of mother-child transmission of the virus.