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MAPUTO – 13 MAY: The Aurum Institute formally opened its Maputo office last week, in a ceremony attended by senior representatives of the Mozambique Department of Health, donors and other partners in Mozambique.

The Aurum Mozambique office will be responsible for implementing the Unitaid-funded IMPAACT4TB project in the country. The 4 year project, aimed at addressing latent tuberculosis infection, will provide short-course TB preventive therapy (3HP) for two vulnerable groups – children under 5 and people living with HIV – in 12 high-burden TB countries: Brazil, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, India, Cambodia and Indonesia. Together, these countries represent 50 percent of the global TB burden.

Aurum is the lead organisation for the IMPAACT4TB consortium and is the implementing member in South Africa, Ghana and Mozambique.

Aurum Country Director Prof Emilio Valverde, speaking at the opening ceremony, said that Aurum Mozambique would work closely with key government ministries, development partners and local organisations to ensure the effective implementation of 3HP in the country.

“Quite simply, Aurum cannot do all that we do without the support of the Mozambican people and our partners,” he said.

Valverde and his team were also joined by South Africa’s Aurum Executive Fellow Bulelani Kuwane and some members of Aurum’s international division including IMPAACT4TB project manager Karin Turner, senior technical expert Regina Osih and lead senior scientist Dr Violet Chihota. “This is a very auspicious moment for Aurum, as we mark our 21st year as a proudly African organisation whose mission is to improve the health of people and communities living in poverty. With this new Mozambique office, we are committed to sharing our wealth of experience and best practices,” said Aurum Executive Fellow Bulelani Kuwane.

Dr Benedita Jose, a representative from Mozambique’s National TB programme officially opened the office, noting that they looked forward to working with Aurum to address the high burden of TB in the country.

As part of the ceremony, Dr Benedita Jose accepted a donation of R50,000 made by Aurum staff members to assist in cyclone relief efforts. According to Kuwane, Aurum employees decided to act given the scale of the devastation brought about by the tropical cyclone, whose death toll exceeds 1,000 and which affected at least 2.5 million people.