Strengthening Health Systems Research Capacity in Mozambique
Mozambique's health sector is dealing with system-wide challenges. The country's disease burden continues to struggle under the weight of communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases are on the rise. There have been some successes in reducing the disease burden through programs targeting specific communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV-AIDS. However, further improvements cannot be achieved without addressing broad health systems issues. This research project will strengthen health systems research capacity through training and research for staff at the Instituto Nacional de Saude (INS) and the Department of Planning and Cooperation. Specifically, it will aim to: -build individual and institutional capacity; -enable researchers to provide evidence and expertise to strengthen the health system; -support research in priority areas aligned with the national research agenda; -increase health systems research outputs designed for Mozambique's context and needs; -encourage sustainable, long-term evidence-based findings impacting health systems, policies, and practices; and, -implement a health systems research and training program. Mozambique's economy continues to recover from years of civil strife and political instability. While the economy is poised to grow, the country's expected shortage of human resources is a major hurdle to realizing its full potential. These shortages are affecting service delivery and research in the health sector. While there are several initiatives addressing this challenge, they are piece-meal in nature and their focus is mostly on biomedicine rather than health systems. The INS is the mandated national health research institution under Mozambique's Ministry of Health. The Ministry's Department of Planning and Cooperation will serve as a partner on this project. It is responsible for the Ministry's work on national health accounts, resource allocation, and national health information systems. It also leads evaluation activities and large-scale health surveys. The primary external partner is Brazil's national health research institution, FIOCRUZ. The institution will be involved in curriculum development and delivery of short courses, and a master's program in health systems research. The program will build on the experience of two master's programs that are addressing capacity needs in the health sector: the master's in biomedicine, a combined INS-FIOCRUS program, and the master's in public health and field epidemiology, a collaboration between the University of Eduardo Mondlane and the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. Project partners will also include the University of Eduardo Mondlane, the Health Economics Unit of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and EQUINET, a regional network on equity in health in Southern and Eastern Africa. The University of Cape Town will also be involved in training two INS staff members at the PhD level. The project is expected to run for four and half years. It will provide the Ministry of Health with an evidence base for improved health policy decision-making. Research conducted as part of the training will be aligned with the national health systems' research priorities.