Skip to content | Skip to site navigation | Skip to contact

Health Alliance International


“Health Workers on a Shoestring” Photo Essay

Posted: Aug 02, 2010 · Posted by: Wendy Johnson, Director of New Initiatives

Mozambique has one of the lowest ratios of health care workers to population, with less than a half a doctor and only 3 nurses for every 10,000 people.

Health workers cover all cadres of health professionals and paraprofessionals who support the delivery of health care. This nurse's assistant works in a rural health post with just a small handful of staff.

This lab technician in the Chimoio hospital is trained to run blood tests on new equipment provided and maintained by HAI, but as there are not enough trained techs, many machines are not being utilized to their full potential.

HAI supports over 100 rural and urban clinics where nurses like this one offer integrated prenatal care including syphilis testing, HIV counseling, testing and prevention services and malaria treatment and prevention.

Mozambique has a good network of clinics, even in rural areas, which could provide most of the population with access to health care if there were enough health workers to adequately staff them.  

Many places, like the Dakata clinic shown in the last photo, have just one nurse responsible for providing all care to pregnant women and children, data collection and reporting and other administrative tasks.

Many rural clinics have "Casas De Mae Espera" or houses for expecting women. Pregnant women come and stay in these rudimentary shelters 3-4 weeks before their due date.

When the women are ready to deliver, the nurse must be perpetually on call to attend the births.

A woman in labor in Dakata.








Ten or more women pack into the small and sometimes dilapidated houses for expecting women. This one lost its roof in a wind storm.

Nurses at the Beira Hospital. The Beira hospital has seen many improvements and renovations over the past few years, but it is still crowded with inadequate space and too few health workers. There are 5000 deliveries a year here and just 4 "labor" beds.

At least now the hospital is relatively clean with a reliable water supply.

A nurse shows us a "new" table that is already showing the signs of wear from overuse.

Another nurse uses a partially working fetal monitor to check the health of the unborn baby.

Overcrowded hospital rooms and damaged, non-functioning or unavailable essential equipment is obviously bad for patient care, but it also affects health worker morale.








A nurse weighs a baby in the waiting area of the hospital in Espungabera.

Children should have special facilities and considerations for their health care services. Here at the former Chimoio day hospital, children have their own dedicated waiting room.



Improving health care infrastructure and providing comfortable surroundings for patients helps health workers do their jobs more effectively. With increased job satisfaction it is more likely they will continue work in their home country and in the public sector.





















Subscribe for Updates

Health Alliance International

We are a nongovernmental organization that supports governments in strengthening health systems and providing health care for all. We are affiliated with the University of Washington.


Health Alliance International

Physical Address
1107 NE 45th Street, Suite 350
Telephone Numbers
Work: (206) 543-8382
Web Site

Site Notes

  • Page URL: