Health vulnerabilities of mobile and migrant populations in and around the Port of Beira, Mozambique

Author/s: IOM
Language: English
Publication Type: Technical Report(External)

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The study was conducted to contribute to the reduction of HIV among migrants and mobile workers, their families and communities with which they interact in the port of Beira in Mozambique. The study utilized mixed methods of data collection which included a quantitative questionnaire-based survey and qualitative interviews. GIS mapping of the different areas inside and outside the Port was also produced. The survey population was 322 which included the following: port workers, long distance lorry drivers, female sex workers, and restaurant/ bar owners and workers. The qualitative study population included: port workers, female sex workers, seafaring personnel, long distance lorry drivers, health care workers, NGO workers, and public sector workers. 55 individual in-depth interviews and 8 focus group discussions were conducted. This study shows the existence of multiple concurrent partnerships between truck drivers, commercial sex workers, ‘leisure workers’ (individuals who worked at the bars and hotels next to the port), stevedores and other port workers. Stevedores constitute a relatively well paid worker population in Beira and they are regular clients of commercial sex workers. In contrast, international seafarers are not a significant constituent of these sexual networks due to their minimal presence in the city. The study shows there is a blurring of the boundaries between commercial, transactional, and intimate relationships amongst clients of commercial sex workers. For example, commercial sex workers have casual liaisons with truck drivers but also some also have regular, personal relationships with other truck drivers and/or with other individuals in the city. Likewise, those partners of commercial sex workers have other commercial and personal relationships; for example, with leisure workers. Sexual liaisons do occur often in port environs due to the presence of hotels and bars but also elsewhere in the city. Reported condom use was inconsistent; most frequently and consistently in commercial sexual relationships but infrequently in transactional and intimate partner relationships. Generally, informants across all samples are knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS, express few prejudices, and seek professional medical care as and when necessary. The port is a location where there is a concentration of porous sexual networks. There is a high risk of HIV and STI transmission within these networks due to the central presence of commercial sex workers and truck drivers within them.

Region/Country (by coverage)
IOM Mozambique