Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain travelled to Mozambique this week to visit the town of Manhiça located 80 kilometres north of the capital. Her first visit to this town was in 1998 to attend the inauguration of the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM). Fifteen years later, on a trip organized by AECID (the Spanish development cooperation agency) to visit Spain's most important cooperation projects in Mozambique, Her Majesty returned to CISM to see how the centre has evolved and why it has become one of the foremost successes of Spanish foreign aid.
The first stop on the visit was a rural community, where four generations of a family who are participating in CISM's Demographic Surveillance System received the Queen in the shade of a mango tree. Dr. Pedro Alonso, founder and member of the Board of Governors of CISM, explained the important role played by a strong demographic database in the analysis of a population, a resource that distinguishes CISM from other African research centres. The next stop on the itinerary was Manhiça District Hospital, a centre where the health care services receives specific support from CISM. Finally, Her Majesty toured the CISM research centre itself. She was accompanied by Dr. Macete Eusebio, the centre's director, who emphasized the important health benefits that the facility has brought, not only to the people of the Manhiça district, but to the country's population as a whole.
Her Majesty Queen Sofia, who was shown around by the centre's research staff during her visit, was able to see that, in spite of the great strides made in the last 15 years in Manhiça and Mozambique, inequities persist and much work remains to be done.
Spanish Cooperation in Mozambique
Her Majesty the Queen was accompanied on her visit to Mozambique by the Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Jesus Gracia. The purpose of the trip was to gain a first-hand view of the various projects which AECID is supporting in the country.
Cooperation between Spain and Mozambique dates back to 1980. In the course of his visit, Mr Gracia emphasised that, despite the current difficult economic climate, Mozambique continues to be a priority in the Spanish Government's current official development assistance programme.