Above: The Furquia Health Center conducting an STI awareness presentation to a group of community members.
In rural locations where health facility access and human resource capacity can be challenging, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Through the Mobile Clinic team, the Furquia Health Center has strengthened its STI screening package through the use of algorithms and protocols for treatment and prevention. Daily presentations that are given at the center are a key approach for sexual behavior change in the community. Especially for sexually active youth, it is important to provide concise information on STIs, their causes, modes of transmission, prevention, treatment, and the consequences of not treating properly.
Gina, an 18 year old Furquia native, was thrilled when a relationship progressed with a local boy she met. In the beginning, everything was beautiful and new. However, after about a month of intimacy, she began to feel an itching sensation in her genital region.
Gina shared, "I was terrified, so I went to my aunt who in turn advised me to go to the health center for treatment. When I got to the clinic I participated in the lecture on STIs, after which I had a private consultation where it was recommended that I be treated along with my partner. Once home I informed my boyfriend of the situation so that he could also seek treatment, but he refused. He actually blamed me, saying he was not sick and suggested I had another partner who infected me. It was impossible to convince him to join me for treatment, so the next day I returned again to the health center to report what had happened. Right away it was suggested that a health counselor advise us together, and the counselor and I traveled home together where she explained the importance of the situation in person.
Following this counseling, my boyfriend finally heeded the advice. We all returned to the health center and received further health counseling and testing for HIV. Thank God those tests results were negative!
We each received treatment for the STI, were given condoms and received guidance on future prevention of sexually transmitted infections. Now we are happy and serve as pioneers to give useful information on STIs to our peers."
Above: The young couple are jointly counseled on STI prevention and treatment.
RMF’s Mobile Clinic in Mozambique is a new model of healthcare provision for our organization, conceptualized to reach remote and rural communities with no prior access to health care. Since its inception in 2008, our Mobile Clinic has been hugely successful and remains the only mobile clinic in all of Mozambique. The clinic, a collaboration between RMF, Vanderbilt University’s Friends in Global Health, and Medical Mission International, is currently deployed in one of the most populous provinces of Mozambique, Zambézia Province, located in the central coastal region with a population of almost 4 million.
- To improve the quality of life and provide access to health services, particularly access to maternal-child healthcare and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for people living with HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and other diseases.
- To provide access to healthcare in remote areas of Zambézia Province, Mozambique.
- To reinforce the expansion of HIV care and treatment services initiated by the Zambézia Provincial Health Directorate (DPS), by providing temporary reinforcement in terms of staff, training, and space for peripheral health units initiating implementation of ART until such time as the DPS can organize the infrastructure and resources necessary for these sites to function independently.