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Cablegate: First Two H1n1 Deaths Confirmed in Mozambique

VZCZCXRO1486
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #1047 2651507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221507Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0751
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0511
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC

UNCLAS MAPUTO 001047

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO SENV SOCI PGOV PREL MZ
SUBJECT: FIRST TWO H1N1 DEATHS CONFIRMED IN MOZAMBIQUE

REF: MAPUTO 1010

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The first death from H1N1 in Mozambique
was reported on September 12, and the second was reported on
September 19. The first two were a 29 year old woman who
died after a three day hospitalization on September 6, and a
45 year old man who died on September 4. Mozambique has
documented 27 cases of H1N1 flu since its first case on
August 17, with 71 suspected cases in total. The Government
of Mozambique (GRM) is developing a formal response plan and
trying to address issues in supplies, documentation, and
health worker training. There are current shortages of
testing materials and Mozambique is seeking assistance from
donors for supplies. While Mozambique is taking appropriate
steps, the weak health sector does not have the resources to
cope with large case numbers or severely ill patients. END
SUMMARY.

------------------------------
FIRST TWO H1N1 DEATH CONFIRMED
------------------------------

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2. (U) On September 12 the Government of Mozambique (GRM)
reported its first death in a patient with H1N1 influenza.
The patient, a 29 year-old woman reported to have a chronic
illnesses, died in Maputo Central Hospital after a three day
hospitalization. A second death was reported on September 19
of a 45 year old male patient who died on September 4.
According to Ministry of Health (MISAU) spokesman Leonardo
Chavane, 71 cases with H1N1 symptoms had been diagnosed in
the capital as of September 19, of which 69 cases were
undergoing tests, and 27 cases have returned positive
results. Of the 27 positive cases, 18 are female, 9 are
male. Of the 71 suspected cases, 11 patients are under the
age of ten. Besides the capital city, MISAU confirmed a
total of four H1N1-positive cases in the provinces of Tete,
Sofala, and Gaza. Testing is done in South Africa because
Mozambique does not have WHO-certified testing laboratories.
Chavane explained that most H1N1-positive patients report
recent foreign travel, particularly to South Africa.

-----------------------------------
CURRENT STATUS OF EPIDEMIC RESPONSE
-----------------------------------

3. (U) Mozambique is following World Health Organization
guidelines and only testing severe cases, suspected flu
deaths, and pregnant women (a defined high risk group for
severe H1N1). Current preparedness issues identified by the
GRM include: (1) Need for a communications plan and
information dissemination in communities; (2) Shortages of
supplies including testing materials; (3) Need to ensure
appropriate triage at health facilities to ensure that
potential flu patients are isolated from other patients and
from staff; (4) Need to document and coordinate training
within Ministry of Health staff on patient management and
triage procedures; (5) Need to ensure forms are completed to
count suspected cases in light of limited testing; (6) GRM is
working on a formal implementation plan for influenza
response. According to Chavane, MISAU has trained 150 staff
members who are in turn training doctors in the rest of the
country to recognize the symptoms of H1N1.

---------------------------------------------
COMMENT: HEALTH CARE INFRASTRUCTURE A CONCERN
---------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) While the GRM, and MISAU in particular have put a
response together, the health infrastructure in Mozambique
remains extremely weak, even in Maputo. If a large number of
Influenza cases develop (H1N1 or other), these could
potentially overwhelm the existing health capacity and drug
supply available to the public. While GRM is taking
appropriate actions to improve training, communication, and
documentation of pandemic flu, minimal resources and
infrastructure will be the limiting factor in Mozambique's
ability to mobilize and sustain a response to even a moderate
increase in influenza cases.
CHAPMAN

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