Health Systems in Mozambique

After gaining independence, Mozambique was hailed for its efforts to establish a health care system that would have been the envy of Southern Africa. Unfortunately this was one of the systems targeted during the civil war and the countries health system has never fully recovered since.

The current system is two pronged with provision for basic healthcare provided by the government and private care available through privatized companies. The variance between these two is astronomical and the two systems are almost not able to be compared.

Government health

The Mozambican government is responsible for the provision of basic healthcare which is supposed to be provided through an infrastructure at national, provincial and district level. A large number of issues are faced by this system with the biggest being woefully inadequate number of staff, chronic underfunding and accessibility. The rural areas of the country have little or no access and a disproportionate number of patients to doctors, while the urban areas have a high number of infectious cases.

The health system is under constant strain and has become reliant on foreign aid and workers to bolster the system and provide what little care it can.

Private health providers

This has been a part of the healthcare industry that has not really seen any developments until lately. Traditionally those who were able to afford proper medical care have travelled to neighboring South Africa for such services. This trend is slowly being reversed and the first private hospital opened in the capital Maputo in 2012. There are a range of smaller private clinics available, but these are not equipped to handle major operations or even specialist services.

Medical aid

Providers of medical insurance in Mozambique are few and far between, with many such services being provided by South African companies. Any visitors to the country should ensure that they have their own medical aid arranged through a provider in their own country.

Healthcare available for visitors

With the poor state of the countries medical facilities, any medical attention needed by visitors to the country is only recommended in the direst of emergencies. Any other medical assistance is best being sought in neighboring South Africa. It is also highly recommended that you have a medical evacuation option on your medical insurance policy in case of emergency.


Similar to the medical situation across the entire country, the prevalence of dentists is very low and many people have to go without access to such services. There are a large number of foreign aid providers that teach basic oral hygiene and provide some limited dental services.

Alternative medicine

With large parts of the country being tribal based, the traditional healers still play an important role in Mozambican culture. While many people believe in these approaches and remedies, there is no medical evidence to back up these practices.

Cosmetic healthcare

This is not something you will find in Mozambique as neighboring South Africa has all the needed facilities.