December 17th, 2020 marked the beginning of the official openings of all new health infrastructure built by the project. This means that 7 new health facilities – 4 rural health centres and 3 maternity waiting homes, including boreholes, solar electrification systems, equipment and hospital materials – are being opened to the public. Last week, we had a ceremony to officially hand the health infrastructure over to our primary partner, DPSI. This week, the Governor of Inhambane began individual inaugurations at each individual site, of which yesterday’s were the 1st: at the 12-bed maternity waiting home and renovated nursery at the Vilankulo Rural Hospital and the rural health centre with maternity in Tevele, Massinga.

Governor of Inhambane Daniel Chapo conducting inauguration ceremony for community health infrastructure.

Both inaugurations were well-attended, within the restrictions required for COVID-19 prevention, and the political, health system, and community leadership all expressed deep thanks. The Governor, Daniel Chapo, spoke very highly of our project, emphasizing its commitment and integrity, and of the importance of Canada’s long-term support to Mozambique. He was eloquent in his acknowledgement of all the effort the Mozambique-Canada partnership has put into strengthening communities’ health over the years and he congratulated the communities, the leadership, the project, and Canada for this success while also calling on everyone present to continue working together to ensure the health facilities are well used and well maintained.

At the Tevele Health Centre opening, the Provincial Director of Health, Naftal Matusse, and Project Director, Jessie Forsyth, were invited to plant a tree together while the Governor cut the inaugural ribbon, marking our collaboration by nurturing new life.

Project Director Jessie Forsyth speaking to the media about community health.

The Governor’s office also sent out a communication announcing the inauguration of the Vilankulo Rural Hospital’s maternity waiting home and the Tevele, Massinga rural health centre and acknowledging the project and the long-standing Canada-Mozambique partnership through the University of Saskatchewan. The statement from Governor said as well, “the infrastructures were delivered to reduce maternal mortality and bring health services closer to the population for more and better services.” And concluded,  “Our greatest value is life”.

From Saskatoon, University of Saskatchewan Principal Investigator for the project, Nazeem Muhajarine, expressed his thanks, “what a great idea to plant a tree. We will look for this new life in the coming years, symbolic of our project’s contribution.”