More than 65,000 people from the communities of Namuno, Balama, Montepuez, Chiúre, Mueda and Nangade districts in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, now have greater and better access to health services, as a result of the presence and interaction with the Mobile Brigades of health.

The beneficiaries are communities whose closest Health Units, that offers basic health services, are more than 15 km away with very poor access to transport, which makes access to health care very difficult. To help remove such barrier, the Aga Khan Foundation Mozambique, through the SPARC project, and in partnership with the Provincial Directorate of Health, setup Mobile Health Brigades that travel to the communities offering a range of services, such as:

  • Contraception and family planning
  • Prenatal and postnatal consultation
  • Prevention, screening and GBV/VSBG cases referral
  • Dissemination of educational messages for the prevention of unsafe abortion and referral for safe abortion care
  • Provision of antiretroviral treatment, prevention of vertical transmission, treatment of STIs, and
  • Dissemination of educational messages for the prevention and screening of cervical, breast and prostate cancer as well as referral of suspected cases.

Having the mobile brigades here at our community, helps us not travel long distances to access health services. There are people here in the community who cannot go to a health center due to the lack of transport. Families have not, for a long time, checked their children's health because of such constrain, but now that we have the mobile health brigade at the community, we are aided every month. The mobile brigade also helps us in our family planning. We have been noticing that, presently, there is a greater spacing between the number of new births, as well as a behavior change and greater awareness over these matters through due to regular lectures. So, we very much would like to see the mobile brigade continue to come to our community ” explains Jacob Issufo, Secretary of the village of Nicane.

In the village of Nicane, located in Namuno district, pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly, people with disabilities and among other residents, take an average of 3 hours to walk to the Health Unit, a situation that frequently contributes to the lack of adherence to health services. The allocation of a mobile brigade to a community is a major asset as it allows not only to mobilize a higher number of beneficiaries to access health services, but also helps to save resources, which are already scarce, such as time spent on travel, money for transport, and even the wear and tear on the health of users.

“Having the mobile brigade coming to our community helps a lot! It reduces the time and distance that we take to get to the health center, and we can have consultations for pregnant women, ….women who have just had children and need the support in childcare. During the consultation, they our women can discuss and better understand about family planning, and the importance of spacing pregnancies to allow time for the body to rest ”, said Anita Ramos, pregnant resident of Nicane.

Sofia Joaquim, resident of the community of Paranhupwe in Namuno, also emphasizes the fact that these services reduce access costs, “…Since it arrived at the community, it’s no longer necessary to pay for the consultation, and we benefit from other health services such as family planning, counseling, and vaccination, allowing us a better control over our health and our children’s health too.

In addition to integrating the health services, the mobile brigades promoted by the SPARC project, also include education sessions on health, rights, and sexual and reproductive health with the purpose to reinforce male engagement in these matters. Services are offered to communities monthly.

The setup of mobile brigades is one of several activities that have been implemented within the scope of the project to strengthen the improvement of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SPARC), in partnership with the Provincial Health Directorate of Cabo Delgado, a project funded by the Government of Canada.