Battered Mozambique Hospitals ‘In Race Against Time’ To Prevent Epidemic After Cyclone Idai

When vicious winds and relentless rainfall barreled into Edgar Meque’s hospital in the early afternoon of March 14, no fewer than 10 mothers lay in the maternity ward with their newborn babies as the roof began to collapse.

A stone’s throw from the darkness of the Indian Ocean, the Ponta Gea health centre in the central Mozambican city of Beira was but another obstacle on Cyclone Idai’s path of destruction as it made landfall.

With little time to act, Mr Meque and his maternity ward team rushed to get the most vulnerable out of harm’s way.

“When the cyclone began we decided to transfer the mothers from this building to another building with concrete walls,” he said. “We were scared. Here in the maternity ward it wasn’t [just] one life. It was two, three lives for each mother.”

Racing to evacuate the mothers and babies, Mr Meque feared that as the cyclone worsened, the hospital would soon “be filled with injuries and a lot of patients” from around the city and the wider province of Sofala. The facility already provides for up to 30,000 patients a month.

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