Mapping maputo

When I joined the GHAC program, I knew that I wanted to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa. I was eager to understand more about the region, and to have an opportunity to learn from physicians, fellow students, and patients there. Fortunately, I found a project working with American physicians Dr. Sierra Washington and Christy Zachek, and Mozambican physicians Dr. Nafissa Osman and Dr. Santos Guilherme Santos. We aim to understand access to medication abortion products within urban Mozambique in the hope of informing the health system here with this important information.  

Right after taking my final exam of my MS1 year I drove to LA where I finished packing and slept for a few hours before boarding my 40-hour journey to Maputo, Mozambique. I traveled to support a project investigating how available the combination Mifeprostone/Misoprostol pill for abortion-branded in Moz as Seguro Intimo- is in pharmacies around the city. These medications, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as essential medications, are sold and distributed legally here in Maputo pharmacies. Despite the existence of this policy, it is not yet fully understood whether they are being sold, for what price, and to whom. That was the goal of our project and of our team – to collect this information and transmit it to the health system here.  

My work centered around recruiting and supporting the medical students at the Universidade de Edoardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo who were essential to the data collection for this study, taking on the role of visiting all of the pharmacies of Maputo.  They were an incredible source of knowledge and were invaluable for our survey of medication abortion access.  

Thank you to Dr. Santos Guillherme Santos, Dr. Christine Zachek, Dr. Sierra Washington, and Dr. Nafissa Osman for all of their instruction and guidance. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the many students who signed on for this work, as well as Stefan, Chioma, Lene, Professor Buce, and Gloria for being my companions and my teachers during this experience.  

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