The women of  Africa

Mozambique

Mozambique Poised to Meet Millennium Development Goals


Mozambique seems to be on the brink of meeting Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5: reducing neonatal deaths by 66% and maternal mortality rates by 75% by 2015¹. Neonatal deaths and maternal mortality rates have both decreased by 63% since 1990¹. However, closer inspection reveals these improvements are localized: some provinces show 80% decreases in neonatal mortality, while others show decreases as low as 5%².


April 13, 2015

The maternal mortality ratio and child mortality rates in Mozambique are hovering just above the numbers set forth by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5. Child mortality has decreased from 237 per 1,000 births in 1990 to 87 per 1,000 in 2013; maternal mortality rates have dropped from 1,300 per 100,000 live births to 480 per 100,000 live births in the same time span.¹ These decreases may come as a result of more women choosing to give birth at public health facilities, more qualified health workers working at these facilities, and ensuring that the number of available public health facilities grows together with the population.²

 

However, the numbers are stagnating. At a country-wide level, child mortality rates seem to be decreasing, but a closer look at the provincial and district levels reveal another story: in 11 provinces and 128 districts, child mortality rates may actually be increasing². In Mozambique, health workers must care for both newborns and mothers simultaneously, presenting a challenge for ensuring quality care and maintaining highly efficient use of available resources³. The ratio of health workers to population in Mozambique is one of the world’s lowest³, and the need for improved health care delivery and organization is vital for improving these numbers.

 

A combination of technology and capacity strengthening of health care workers in the maternal and neonatal health continuum may be the last push Mozambique needs to meet MDG standards. First, hospital personnel should receive evidence-based practical education in order to provide the highest quality health care. Second, the organization of health care services requires updating, as this aspect has undergone only minor changes in the past years. Importantly, these changes require widespread implementation, at all levels of health care facilities.

 

Currently, there are three levels of health care facilities available in Mozambique: primary health care centers, referral hospitals, and rural district hospitals. However, many patients bypass district hospitals for primary health care facilities. Improvements in the quality of antenatal, (emergency) obstetric and postnatal care, as well as increasing accessibility, would help shift the volume of patients to local district hospitals, which would have almost certain positive effects on birth outcomes.

 

According to Dr. Elsa Jacinto at the Ministry of Health, projects are currently underway to help facilitate these kinds of shifts. “The "Mother & Child Health" project has been launched in three districts of Mozambique: Namapa (Nampula province), Buzi (Sofala province) and Chokwe (province of Gaza). This project includes training, supply and installation of equipment, ultrasounds, ECG machines, defibrillators and patient monitors. The project will improve the identification, management, monitoring and control of clinical complications of patients and thus promote social and economic development of these populations.” Projects like these, providing support at the level of health infrastructure and service delivery, are essential for Mozambique to clear the last hurdles in achieving both Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

 

However, the numbers are stagnating. At a country-wide level, child mortality rates seem to be decreasing, but a closer look at the provincial and district levels reveal another story: in 11 provinces and 128 districts, child mortality rates may actually be increasing².

In Mozambique, health workers must care for both newborns and mothers simultaneously, presenting a challenge for ensuring quality care and maintaining highly efficient use of available resources³. The ratio of health workers to population in Mozambique is one of the world’s lowest³, and the need for improved health care delivery and organization is vital for improving these numbers.

 

However, the numbers are stagnating. At a country-wide level, child mortality rates seem to be decreasing, but a closer look at the provincial and district levels reveal another story: in 11 provinces and 128 districts, child mortality rates may actually be increasing².

In Mozambique, health workers must care for both newborns and mothers simultaneously, presenting a challenge for ensuring quality care and maintaining highly efficient use of available resources³. The ratio of health workers to population in Mozambique is one of the world’s lowest³, and the need for improved health care delivery and organization is vital for improving these numbers.

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