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Visit Minister-President Jambon and ambassador of Mozambique to ITM

Flanders extends successful cooperation with Mozambique until 2025
On January 31, Minister-President Jan Jambon and the ambassador of Mozambique, Berta Cossa, paid a joint visit to the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp. The visit started with a thorough introduction to the scientific and social added value, organisation and functioning of the institute. The vision of the future and the associated challenges, needs and wishes of ITM were also discussed.

A declaration of intent was signed in which Flanders and Mozambique formally and mutually commit themselves to the implementation of the new country strategy paper for development cooperation between the two governments. This commitment entails an investment of 25 million euros in the period 2021-2025.

The many years of cooperation between the Belgian institute and the National Health Institute of Mozambique (INS) is exemplary for ITM's aim to develop a horizontal and therefore more productive cooperative relationship with a partner in the South. This has not only strengthened INS, but certainly also ITM. “ITM is a longstanding partner of Mozambique with support from Flanders to work on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and recently further strengthened working together on COVID-19. ITM is excited by the Flemish initiative to allow expansion of our scientific collaboration with Mozambique national and provincial health authorities to jointly work together to address public health challenges in Mozambique and the region,” says director Marc-Alain Widdowson.

At the signing, the Minister-President stated the following: “I am convinced that with this new country strategy paper and by radically strengthening the health system at national and provincial level, Mozambique and Flanders will not only set up an important collaboration to make Mozambique more resilient to the impact of the current and upcoming health crisis. At the same time, with our new collaboration, we can demonstrate that access to sexual and reproductive health and rights is also possible and important for vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities or HIV, internally displaced persons, adolescents and members of sexual and gender minorities in Mozambique.”

Ambassador Cossa expressed her great satisfaction with the cooperation between Flanders and Mozambique, which has now been in existence for twenty years. The theme and specific emphases in the new country strategy paper, which were established together with the Mozambican government, will undoubtedly lead to important results again. The ambassador also invited Flanders to: “Propose the successful Flemish-Mozambican cooperation on the equally sensitive and important theme of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights to other partners, including African governments, as best practice in order to help to lift existing taboos around this.”

After the signing, the Minister-President and the ambassador visited the insectary. The facility houses a wide range of insects, including tiger and malaria mosquitoes and sand flies. This new research area offers extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary work and enables an improved investigation of tropical diseases, including those linked to climate change.

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