UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE
Edition #13 7 January 1998
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CHOLERA: THE NEW ENEMY
Adding to poverty, AIDS and El Nino, cholera now follows on and has been declared the new enemy which must be fought in Mozambique: Cholera has to date killed over 260 people in the country.
The epidemic that officially started in Maputo province and city four months ago is now at its worst in the province of Gaza, due to the movement of people from Maputo. Maputo and Gaza are neigbouring provinces and Xaixai, Gaza's capital, is only 210 kilometers away from Maputo city.
When the first caseswere reported last August,many people said that in fact the epidemic had started some months before but that the government did not announce this in order to avoid panic within the population. Strange too, when government officials started to talk about the disease, they first said that the situation was under control, but some days after that they launched an appeal for foreign aid in order to help cope with the situation.
In fact the situation was serious and it was necessary to ask for international support. For medicines and serums. Several countries responded, among them Portugal, Belgium, Holland and Italy. In the country, different sectors of the community, especially the entrepreneurs, assisted with money, food, boots, gloves and other equipment necessary to help fight the epidemic.
It is common knowledge that one of the reasons for the epidemic is the bad sanitation that exists in the majority of Mozambican cities, not least in Maputo.It is the norm to see mountains of garbage in the roads uncollected by the sanitation department.
However, Dr Avertino Barreto, from Ministry of Health has said that people cannot just continue blaming the department of sanitation for their problems: " We have to change our own hygiene methods. People use the toilet but do not take the time to wash their hands. Many people do not have toilets and relieve themselves in the open where flies then carry disease to unprotected food or water," he said.
In the Costa do Sol area, a neigbourhood that lies along Maputo Bay, people still relieve themselves in the open saying that it is impossible to dig latrines. A resident of Costa do Sol said: "We can't have latrines here because the level of the sea water is high. When we dig a latrine, before we have even dug down one meter, we find water. How can we have a latrine in a situation like this?"
There are many casual settlement areas in Maputo, where all the dwellings are built without permission from any authorities. In most of the cases, people who live in these neighbourhoods came from the rural areas seeking a secure place to live during the civil war, and now they do not want to go back to their original homes.
With the outbreak of cholera in Maputo it has been necessary to open tent hospitals many of these neigbourhoods with two large extra infirmaries taking in patients at the Central Hospital
There are now many ongoing campaigns to fight the cholera epidemic that have started up all over the country. People are beginning to realize that anyone in Mozambique can get cholera. People are now aware that cannot eat uncooked vegetables and fruits unless they are sure that they have cleaned them very well.Small informal restaurants selling cheap food have been closed by the authorities as with their bad sanitation they were an invitation to the disease. However, closing the restaurants creates other problems.
Many women are owners of these informal restaurants, known by the name " XIPANELANA", ( LITTLE POT in the Changana language).Many of these women are the only breadwinner in their family . When the Xipanelanas were closed,the women blamed the government for not paying attention to their problems after this had been done. The customers, normally workers with very low incomes who could only afford to eat at these informal restaurants, were now absent, and unable to eat in other more expensive eateries:" How can we survive without food?Our income is very low and we can't afford to go to a good restaurant, and we need to eat!"they said.
After some week of observing the rules,the Xipanelanas are slowly opening up again. Teresa Manuel, a Xipanelana owner said: "I know that bad sanitation condition can bring cholera, but I need to survive.I've got a family of five and I need to feed them from this business. So I decided to restart, even without the government's permission."
Now, many of the Xipanelana owners have joined together and built latrines close to their business where they now offer water for customers to wash their hands.
Maputo's sanitation conditions are now much improved. But until the natural death of the disease, which could take some months, it is an enemy that needs to be fought hard. And people seem to be learning that they need to keep their neighbourhoods clean in order to do this. Still there are some cynics who ask: Will this last or will it only keep people's attention until the local elections in May.
1. CHISSANO YEAR END ADDRESS: POVERTY ERADICATION
In his end of year address, President Chissano said last week that the priority for Mozambique in 1998 was the alleviation of poverty.
In the speech in which he expressed optimism he said that the major goal was to eradicate poverty and to turn the country from being one of poor people to a country of prosperity. President Chissano said that in 1998 the government would continue its activities to develop the rural areas as well as the improvement and extension of education and health care.
Chissano's optimism could be based on the good results of the economic policies of his government which saw the reduction of inflation from 17% to 4.3% in 1997.
2.SURVEY GIVES CHISSANO 46.7%
In a survey organized by the company "Gestinform" among a group of 2000 people in the cities of Maputo and Matola, 46.7%said that they would vote for Chissano if a presidential election was held today. Only 11.6% said that they could vote in favour of Afonso Dlakama, the leader of the opposition.
Frelimo, the ruling party, is also ahead with 40.9% against 15.85% for the coalition Renamo/Monamo/Fumo/PCN. However, 60.75% of those asked said that the standard of living had not changed for the majority of people despite the government efforts to reduce the levels of inflation. Most of the people, 75.6%, agreed that political stability in the country had improved.
In another survey made by the same company in the central area of Mozambique, in Sofala and Zambezia provinces, the favourite proved to be Afonso Dlakama. The survey in Sofala was done in the city of Beira and in Dondo Buzi districts, where Dlakama was the most popular with 62%, against 24% for Chissano. In Zambezia province the survey was done at Quelimane city and Luabo and Mocuba districts, where Dlakama received 54% and Chissano 25%.
3. LOWERING OF MORTALITY RATE GOVERNMENT PRIORITY
The Mozambican government wants to lower the death rate due to major diseases in Mozambique, to less than 40% in the next 5 years. The diseases are malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory infections and sexually transmitted diseases. 50% of deaths from these diseases take place in the rural areas away from hospitals or other health care.
According to Dr. Avertino Barreto of the ministry of health it will be necessary to integrate the community health programmes in one package of public health care in order to achieve this goal. He said that in doing this there would be better control over the numbers of people affected by the illnesses and it would be possible to draw up strategies and in this way help to reduce the levels.
4.PHILOSPHY IN MOZAMBIQUE SCHOOLS
Mozambique's ministry of education wants to introduce philosophy as a subject in the 2nd level of secondary education this year.
Mozambique has not had philosophy as a subject in its secondary schools since the country became independent in 1975. Students have only had contact with the subject at university level which has given problems for students learning the subject and in its teaching.
The subject will only be available in Maputo city secondary schools and only as a pilot project.
5. COELACANTH TO BE EXIBITED AT EXPO '98
Mozambique will be exhibiting the Coelacanth at the Expo '98 in Lisbon. The Coelacanth is a fish species thought to have been extinct for thousands of years before one was found in alive in 1991 off the Quelimane coast of Mozambique.
According to Dr. Augusto Cabral, a member of the Scientific Commission of Mozambique, it was very important to exhibit the Coelacanth because " its appearance was one of the most important achievements linked with the sea in recent years". It is now known that there are about 500 Coelacanths in the area of the Comoro Islands, in the Indian Ocean.
Expo 98 opens in May and has as its theme the seas and the oceans. About 150 countries are due to participate. Mozambique will also display collections of shells, corals and some endangered specimen of fishes, as well as a chart of the deepest part of the Mozambique Channel.
6.CABLE TV IN MAPUTO FROM MARCH
About 25 000 houses in Maputo city could benefit from March this year from a cable TV system. The service is to be provided by Telecabo Company, a joint venture created by the Portuguese company Visabeira and the National Public Telecommunication company, TDM.
In a second phase of the project, Telecabo will expand its activities to Beira, Mozambique's second largest city where it could benefit about 12.000 households.
7.MOZAMBICANS IMPRISONED AND TORTURED IN SWAZILAND
Mozambicans in Swaziland are being imprisoned and tortured while being held in detention.
During a traditional end of year meeting with government meeting a spokesman for a group representing emigrants showed Swazi newspapers, articles and photographs concerning Mozambicans held in prison and subjected to torture.
The delegation launched an appeal to the President of Mozambique to intercede on their behalf with the Swazi government to stop the human rights abuses committed by the Swazi police.
Mozambican emigrants, specially to the neigbouring countries South Africa, Zimababwe and Swaziland face many troubles. From South Africa, for example, every week hundreds of Mozambicans are being repatriated, under inhuman conditions.
8.MOZAMBIQUE CONCERN ON KAUNDA DETENTION
The Mozambican government has expressed its concern about Mr. Kenneth Kaunda's situation following his detention.
In an official statement the government appealed to the government of Zambia "to provide proper treatment of Mr. Kaunda, respecting the principles of law, whatever the reasons for the detention".
The Mozambican government also said that if the Zambian government respects the legalitiesit will be an important contribution towards peace and stability, not only in Zambia but in the whole Southern Africa region.
9.TROPICAL ST. NICHOLAS
It was the week before Christmas...and Maputo had lots of colour with many men dressed as Santa Claus in different parts of the city.
As an incentive to enter some shops and companies in the city, men dressed like St. Nicholas stood in front of these shops or companies, inviting consumers to enter. One citizen said 'now we are even importing Santa Claus but these ones are a little darker than the original". In fact, they were black men, with their dark faces, dressed like St. Nicholas in the heat of the tropics...
One of then standingin front of a shop down town was asked if he knew who St. Nicholas was. He replied that he did not know much about the tradition of white people but 'my bosstold me to do this, and I'm doing it; I want my salary at the end of the month".
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Wed, 07 Jan 1998 21:01:15 +0100 Subject: MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE #13 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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