Doctors Without Borders

Mogovolas district is an enchanting region of Nampula province, northern Mozambique, that boasts an abundance of lush green landscapes, majestic mountains, and a unique blend of tranquillity and resilience.

However, amidst its stunning beauty lies the ever-present reality of climate shocks that periodically challenge the harmony of this serene haven.

Tropical storms, droughts, and floods have imposed a complex set of challenges, but the unshakeable spirit of Mogovolas communities shines through in the face of these hardships. During 2022, Mogovolas was hit by two tropical storms: Tropical Storm Ana in January and Cyclone Gombe in March. These had devastating effects not only on people but, above all, on the health infrastructure.

Health centres play a vital role in providing healthcare services, especially in disaster-prone areas like Mogovolas, where climate shocks are a recurring threat. In this region, Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is carrying out roof reinforcement actions on health infrastructure to ensure they can withstand cyclones and strong winds and to reduce the risk of roof destruction in case of the aforementioned natural disasters.

Hannes Depuydt, Logistic Coordinator for MSF’s planetary health project in Mozambique, explains that the vision is to ensure health centres remain operational during and after any climate shock.

“Roof reinforcement in health centres is a vital step toward ensuring the safety of patients, healthcare providers, and the continuity of essential healthcare services during cyclones and strong wind events, especially in this district prone to severe weather,” stresses Hannes. He adds that the roof reinforcement can contribute to the overall preparedness of healthcare facilities in the face of natural disasters.

“We are making sure that the roofs will not fly off during heavy winds by placing braces on both sides of the building with a rigid cable system over the roof that prevents the zinc sheets from flying,” he explains.

Mecutamala, Muatua, Calipo, and Murririmue in Mogovolas district, and Japir in Meconta district, are the health centres where the roofs have already been reinforced, in a process involving a combination of technical expertise, community empowerment, and sustainable practices.

In days to come, MSF aims to expand its efforts to more vulnerable communities of Mogovolas, in general, to continually improve building techniques and advocate for policy changes that prioritise cyclone and wind resilience in healthcare infrastructure.

In general, Mozambique is among the most vulnerable and one of the world’s least prepared countries for climate shocks. Since 2022, MSF has been actively responding to the impact of this climate crisis, including reacting to climate-sensitive diseases in the Nampula province. The primary objective of the intervention is to address the gaps in the healthcare system, about neglected tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis, as well as vector-borne diseases like severe malaria and dengue.

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