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Key findings
  • As of mid-2018, more than six in 10 Mozambicans (63%) said they went without needed health-care services during the previous year, including 41% who said this happened “several times,” “many times,” or “always.” Among the poorest respondents, almost all (98%) said they went without medical care at least once.
  • About four in 10 Mozambicans (37%) said their ability to get medical care has improved in recent years, while about half as many (21%) said it has worsened.
  • Two-thirds of Mozambicans who sought medical care said they received services either “right away” (20%) or “after a short time” (46%). But almost one in five (17%) said they had to pay a bribe to get care.
  • Health ranks sixth among the most important problems that Mozambicans want the government to address, down from the top spot in 2015
  • A majority (56%) of Mozambicans said the government was performing “fairly well” or “very well” on improving basic health services, but this reflects a 20-percentage-point decline since 2008. Only 44% said the government was doing a good job of providing water and sanitation services.

After two cyclones leaving death and devastation in their wake (eNCA, 2019a; 2019b), Mozambique faces a post-disaster danger – cholera. While endemic to Mozambique, cholera infections skyrocketed after the recent storms, leading the Ministry of Health and international partners to launch massive vaccination campaigns (World Health Organization, 2019a; Mbah, 2019).

The outbreak shines a spotlight on Mozambique’s health-care and infrastructure sectors as rapid treatment and access to safe water and sanitation are vital to stopping the spread of cholera – but difficult to provide to hundreds of thousands of citizens in hard-hit areas.

Even before the cyclones, Mozambique struggled to ensure adequate health care and infrastructure amid challenges such as high levels of poverty and food insecurity (Allianz Care, 2019; Ministry of Health, 2014). While health-care access, financing, infrastructure, and staffing have improved since the end of the civil war in 1992 (Allianz Care, 2019; World Health Organization, 2019b; Pose, Engel, Poncin, & Manuel, 2014), the country’s health sector continues to rely on external financial support – and will likely need more in the wake of Idai and Kenneth.

In a national Afrobarometer survey in mid-2018, a majority of Mozambicans expressed satisfaction with the government’s progress in improving basic health services, as well as with their own experiences at public health facilities. But almost two-thirds of citizens – and almost all of the poorest citizens – reported going without needed care during the previous year.

Thomas Isbell

Post-doctoral research fellow and research assistant at Afrobarometer

Sadhiska Bhoojedhur

Sadhiska Bhoojedhur is a senior data analyst for Island Living, Mauritius.