Building impact through awareness and outreach
Fewer than 80 cases of haemophilia had been documented in Mozambique when the national patient organisation first submitted its application for a two-and-a- half year project to improve knowledge and management of bleeding disorders. Access to care in the country is currently centred around the capital Maputo, located at the southern tip of Mozambique on the Indian ocean coast of Africa.
After one year of activity, Mozambique’s first project supported by the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation is already making a positive impact. By reaching out to the general public and healthcare professionals around the country in 2020, the team from the Mozambican Haemophilia Association (AMH) were able to identify nine new cases of haemophilia from four different provinces.
Getting haemophilia on the health agenda
Kicking off the project during the COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent the highly motivated team from getting their message across. The group began by developing educational materials to create awareness of bleeding disorders. Leaflets and posters were distributed mid-April at the events organised in Maputo around World Haemophilia Day. They also managed to generate attention from the national media with an interview of AMH president and NNHF project partner, Nelson Damiao, that ran on Telivisão de Moçambique (TVM).
“Our strategy is to use every available channel to raise awareness and public debate on the current haemophilia situation and needs in Mozambique,” says Mr Damiao. “We especially want to increase the level of knowledge of bleeding disorders among healthcare professionals from all five provinces. This will help empower people with haemophilia and family members on the management of the condition.”
In August, the project team travelled to Beira, Mozambique’s second largest city, to meet with the governor of the Sofala province. The goal was to present the work of the patient organisation, discuss the current haemophilia situation and its challenges as well as the work planned to support the haemophilia community in the province and beyond. The authorities showed enthusiasm for the cause and granted their support for the AMH to carry out awareness activities in provincial schools and hospitals.
Gaining knowledge and perspective from others
The project team also reached out to other Portuguese-speaking nations to foster knowledge sharing and learn from the experiences of others. In October 2020, the second national conference of haemophilia and allied bleeding disorders was held with the virtual participation of international speakers from Angola, Portugal and Brazil. As soon as the pandemic conditions allow, the team plan to follow up on earlier exchanges with the Kenya Haemophilia Association. Their goal is to explore ways to empower the Mozambique patient organisation while gaining technical and clinical insights from the haemophilia treatment centre in Nairobi.