Mozambique has played a leading role in the history of our contract so reaching this beautiful and beautiful country has always been a great joy. But on my last trip earlier this month, I was so excited to meet the people of Mozambique again, I shared with them the tragedy and frustration over the security crisis that took place in Cabo Delgado. As the UN Secretary-General, and as the leader of the UN’s AIDS mission, I came to Mozambique to explain my relationship with the Mozambican people, and to learn how to strengthen our support for them. During this difficult time in Mozambique, we the United Nations are with its people.
As Mozambicans from across the state, government agencies and regions have told us, how the labor crisis is compounded by the economic crisis and climate change, the COVID-19 epidemic, the ongoing HIV epidemic, and the huge debt crisis the country has been suffering from. As he said, while the effects of the disease are felt throughout the region, these problems are no longer the same, but exacerbate existing inequalities.
2.2 million Mozambicans are living with HIV, the second-highest number of people living with HIV in the world after South Africa. Every hour in Mozambique, four or four girls become infected with HIV. The plague and the conflict in Cabo Delgado have set back a life-saving and life-changing approach in Mozambique to fight HIV and AIDS.
Negative activities including sexual and reproductive health care and HIV treatment have been disrupted, more people living with HIV and people at risk are being discriminated against, and the incidence of schooling has increased the risk of HIV infection in young girls. I have been told that there has been an 18 percent increase in cases of violence related to 2019.
And in the meantime, public finances are being pressured by high debt levels, and while there has been debt relief at the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, it has not been enough to provide Mozambique with much-needed economic space, especially in the wake of the 2020 and 2021 summits.
But there is hope.
First, we see how human-led responses are helping to tackle COVID-19 as well as a more effective response. Decent decades of proven HIV-led work responses have helped inform them, and communities affected by HIV have been taking the lead. UNAIDS is assisting community-based organizations to provide HIV prevention services and follow up on ART patients who have stopped receiving treatment and link them to treatment, including months-long donations. In addition to lessons from the 20% reduction in AIDS-related deaths in Mozambique since 2010, pilots who reduce injuries and work hard to deal with problems show how well the epidemic is being addressed.
Secondly, we have seen the rise of a global advocacy campaign, with Mozambique’s largest defense, the People’s Vaccine COVID-19, to speed up access to drugs by asking companies to lose patents and share knowledge and knowledge. Multiplying production is the only way to ensure that vaccines are a universal service. The Africa CDC has outlined how African production can be reduced if barriers are removed. A group of “Officials” of former world leaders, represented by Graça Machel, has helped to strengthen the conscience of the world. Many people in the West, as well as many lawmakers in the West, are urging their governments to work together to protect the country from these catastrophes. He knows we can deal with it together.
Third, we see across Africa the coming together of a whole new world of girls’ education and empowerment. “Education Plus” is a policy-maker, driven by a strong advocacy for freedom, policy and fundraising that will ensure that the school can be completed through free secondary education for all girls and boys, and promote this non-violent design, access to adequate education and education. sexuality, the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights and access to care, and the empowerment of young women through schooling to work for change.
Taken together, these strategies do not only increase the risk of HIV infection. It also reduces early pregnancy. Currently 14% of girls in Mozambique have a child under the age of 15, and 57% of girls have a child before the age of 18. All in Mozambique are determined to do good to their girls. There is incontrovertible evidence that education and empowerment of girls to promote development and growth. And for girls and girls alike, similarity is very important.
Fourth, as the world discusses the growing economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, we are seeing a growing awareness that access to health care, education and empowerment is not a waste of money, but a significant investment in restructuring and development. We see a growing realization that the fear of debt can be overcome by debtors, and that debt relief is limited.
As the UN Secretary-General has stated, the world needs a way to “solve the problems of debt, globalization and decades to come”. Our few challenges do not give us a moment to go back to help in humanitarian work but a moment to add to it. Together, we need to raise and distribute money to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind, not fraudulently, but real.
Other assistance, debt relief, ensuring the issuance of Special Liberties – IMF funds – and taking access to Africa, new sources of income, and tackling illegal economic and tax evasion, are all necessary and urgent.
As the UN, we are not part of Mozambique right now, but in the years to come. We are with them as they work to solve health problems; we also have, as they work to address social inequality and the challenges of climate change, that together we can fight COVID-19, defeat AIDS, and fight poverty. By being courageous, together, we can meet the challenges we face.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor of Al Jazeera.