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Twenty Years of Development Cooperation with Mozambique: Mission Report
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Twenty Years of Development Cooperation with Mozambique: Mission Report

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In the context of 20 years of development cooperation with Mozambique and the Country Strategy Paper for Development Cooperation 2021-2025, Julie Bynens, Secretary General of the Flanders Chancellery and Foreign Office, visited Mozambique from 10 to 15 March. The programme included the follow-up of some health projects supported by the Flemish government, a bilateral consultation with representatives of the Mozambican Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health on further cooperation in health and innovation, and a World Health Symposium.

Twenty years of development cooperation with Mozambique

In 2002, Mozambique became the second official partner country of the Flemish Development Cooperation. The social havoc wreaked by the HIV/AIDS epidemic was the direct reason for initially targeting aid in fighting this disease. In 2004 a first formal cooperation protocol was signed between the Flemish and Mozambican governments. Meanwhile, within this collaboration, we are now on the fourth Country Strategy Paper 2021-2025 with an exclusive focus on "access to health". At the same time, the paper builds on work around strengthening the health system and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) primarily for adolescent girls, but also for people with disabilities or HIV, sexual and gender minorities, migrants and internally displaced persons.

Bilateral consultation on further health and innovation cooperation

During the bilateral consultation in Maputo on 12 March, discussions were held with representatives of the Mozambican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Health, the National Health Institute and the Tete Province Health Department. Among other things, all parties expressed appreciation for the long-standing and mutually beneficial cooperation between the National Health Institute of Mozambique and the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. A consensus was also reached on the importance of conducting an external policy evaluation to make recommendations for our future collaboration. Looking back on 20 years of partnership, there was clear agreement that, above all, the partnership between Flanders and Mozambique must remain strong, participatory and sustainable.

Site visit projects in provinces of Tete and Maputo

A notable initiative within the INGUISSA (Fundaçao Ariel) project is the creation of the "Adolescent and Youth Friendly Service Centres" in Maputo. These provide adolescents and young adults with a dedicated space, where a committed health team provides them with integrated sexual and reproductive health care, including HIV prevention, testing and care and family planning services. Mobile units can also reach young people who cannot travel to the centres.

Ajuda de Desenvolvimento de Povo para Povo (ADPP), a local NGO, focuses on removing the obstacles facing adolescent girls and young women in Tete province in terms of their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). These include high rates of early and childhood marriage, low levels of education, limited knowledge of SRHR, and little community support to access SRHR services.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative(CHAI) is an international NGO that uses innovative methods and technologies to strengthen health services for pregnant women, toddlers and infants. The project "Protecting Future: Health program!" tracks pregnant women at risk of pre-eclampsia, to help reduce maternal mortality. The project also contributes to fewer unsafe abortions and unwanted pregnancies.

CUAMM, another international NGO, aims to support and expand the services of several health centres to increase the resilienceof communities to climate change.

World Health Symposium

Global health is vital to promoting equality, fostering economic prosperity, preventing pandemics, upholding human rights, achieving sustainable development and ensuring global security. Within the broader framework of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Flanders Chancellery and Foreign Office, in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Saude - INS (National Institute of Health) of Mozambique, held a World Health Symposium on 13 March under the theme "Investing in Strategic Cooperation, Research, Development and Innovation to Build Sustainable Health Systems". The main goal was to share best practices in innovation for strengthening health systems, including pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. In addition, lessons learned were shared from bilateral support of research and innovation through integrated support, at the central and provincial levels. There was also a call for the fulfilment of research needs and the implementation of innovative and inclusive approaches to the delivery of health services.

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