The Importance of a Good Investigation and Contact Tracing in Mozambique

Neusa Fataha, Resident, Cohort 5, Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP)
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Neusa Fataha is a resident of the fifth cohort of the Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program. (Photo courtesy of Neusa Fataha)


The residents of the Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) have been supporting the Ministry of Health in the rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic since the first cases were confirmed in the country on March 22.

On May 1, I was designated to support the investigation and contact tracing of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Maputo. I felt gratified to know that I would be facing an investigation in which I could contribute from what I have learned during the program. The case investigation was conducted, contacts were traced, and lab samples were collected to test for SARS-CoV-2.

Naturally, each field activity is always a new experience, and this one was remarkable. The task of guiding the confirmed case and their family and neighbors’ contacts was difficult. The case did not believe they had tested positive. The contacts feared sample collection. The health team required strong dedication and strategies to explain to them about the disease, its transmission, our sample collection procedures, and the need for quarantine. In the end, our challenge was won! The samples of four members of the family and four neighbors were collected, and all of them tested negative.

Systematic contact tracing was applied and 160 work contacts were identified, interviewed and tested, as the source of infection in the confirmed case was unknown. Of the 160, 30 coworkers reported, in interviews, having been with the confirmed case. The investigation identified eight additional possible contacts in the company's health unit. After an exhaustive investigation of contacts, only nine of the 38 possible contacts met the definition of “contact” and were quarantined. Their laboratory tests are being processed.

This piece was submitted on May 26, 2020.