Mozambique: Nhararai Janissone, "Doctor of Africa"

Nhararai Janissone is a 43-year-old home-based carer who is HIV-positive and works tirelessly in Manica, Mozambique, to educate people about and reduce the stigma around HIV and AIDS. Every day millions of people are missing out on the medicines and care that they need. Individuals like Nhararai are making a real difference, and saving lives.

“Around here they call me 'Doctor of Africa' because of what I have learnt,” says Nhararai Janissone. Nhararai is a 43-year-old home-based carer who is HIV-positive and works tirelessly in Manica, Mozambique, to educate people about and reduce the stigma around HIV and AIDS.

When Nhararai discovered he was HIV-positive he became very ill, and faced prejudice that made it harder for him to provide for his six children. “I used to work in a local school as a cleaner, but when they found out about my illness I became a victim of their discrimination. They cut my days, always, even when I could show them that I was still able to work.” Since that happened, his only source of income has been selling sweet potatoes from his farm at a local village.

But despite these challenges, Nhararai does an inspiring job to improve the lives of others. As a home-based carer he plays a vital role in his community; counselling, nursing, and encouraging people to get tested for HIV. “My work gives me the opportunity to prevent other people from dying before their time. I feel proud that I can help them to extend their lives through treatment.”

In Mozambique, one in six people is HIV-positive, and 60 per cent of those infected are women. The lack of health services and awareness about the disease in rural areas are the key reasons why. Although HIV tests and medicines are becoming increasingly available, they are not reaching areas such as Manica where many people need them.

 Steve Simon/ Oxfam

Every day millions of people are missing out on the medicines and care that they need. Individuals like Nhararai are making a real difference, and saving lives.

But to reach everyone, what Mozambique really needs is a strong public health system that provides the right medicines, enough well-trained doctors and nurses, and sufficient services in rural areas. The Government has the responsibility to make this a reality so that all people can access health care and so that HIV and AIDS can really be tackled. And they need to match Nhararai's determination when he says “I will not stop, I will not give up.”

What is Oxfam doing?

Oxfam works with others locally and globally to call for governments to provide health services for all people. It is this work, and the changes in policy that Oxfam and others are demanding, that will ensure all Mozambique's citizens can access basic health care, as is their right.