In compliance with the projections regarding the growth of the Cabo Delgado health system, medicusmundi and the Provincial Health Department have put into operation a new Health Unit in Nicuita, in the Namuno District. This new type II Health Center (its services include delivery room and health personnel housing in order to provide incentives for employees to remain longer in the remote areas). This is added to the twelve centres built and equipped by medicusmundi in this Mozambican northern province since the beginning of its intervention back in 1994.
In a country where above 56% of the population has more than an hour walk to the nearest health centre, the expansion of the peripheral health network is an absolute priority for the Health Ministry. However, despite some donors’ reluctance when it comes to supporting cooperation projects which include buildings, the fact is that a more efficient and effective strategy to bring primary health care services closer in the traditionally underserved rural areas hasn’t so far been found.
The outcomes of its implementation cannot be more encouraging. Suraia da Esperança Muatimisa (See photo), a nurse in the Child and Maternal Health Service, informs that the opening of the Health Centre in Nicuita has greatly blessed this region, and that the community is using it from the very first operational day. In only 4 weeks the Centre has assisted 78 births, well above the expected deliveries, thus indicating that even users belonging to other communities and their hinterlands are accessing the new service. It seems that, this time, the services offered are overcoming the traditional cultural barrier, often used as an excuse not to invest on the healthcare networks growth in rural areas.
Translated from Spanish by Sílvia Aymerich