A SYSTEM FOR LIFE
Photography by Eli Reed
"In this ward, we treat on average 80 patients a day. That's too much work for only one nurse."
- Dr. Ermelinda Gomes, paediatrician
With just one doctor for every 35,000 persons, and with the nearest health center at 25 kilometers’ distance on average, the health system in Mozambique continues to face challenges in addressing the health needs of the country’s population, considering the major public health threats such as malaria and HIV and AIDS.
Children’s lives in particular depend on the strength of the health system. With limited qualified human resources on the ground and with a disproportionately small number of health centres, service delivery needs to be strengthened.
For children to receive satisfactory and relevant health services, key programs must be fully financed, needed medicines and drugs must not run out of stock, rigorous systems to collect and analyse data must be in place, and political support must exist on all levels to make sure the population’s health is properly attended to.
UNICEF works on strengthening the health system, but interventions need to be scaled up to reach a maximum number of children, including programs dealing with behaviour change and social norms, without which the health of children in Mozambique will continue to be compromised.