Objective: To assess improvements in diabetes care in Mozambique between 2003 and 2009 following the implementation of the Diabetes UK Twinning Programme.
Methods: As in 2003, a Rapid Assessment Protocol was implemented from August to September 2009 in order to assess the improvements in diabetes care and impact of the Diabetes UK Twinning Programme. One hundred and eighty-four interviews were carried out at different levels of the health system in different areas of Mozambique.
Results: The Diabetes UK Twinning Programme in Mozambique allowed the development of the first comprehensive non-communicable disease plan in sub-Saharan Africa. The other main improvements include a strengthening of the diabetes association with an 8-fold increase in membership, 265 health workers trained in diabetes care in all provinces, the development of patient education materials inspired by some Diabetes UK tools and the expansion of public awareness, particularly from events associated with World Diabetes Day.
Conclusions: Much progress has been made in Mozambique with regard to diabetes and non-communicable diseases. Besides the direct impact of specific activities supported by Diabetes UK, this project allowed for 'collateral' benefits in the overall provision of diabetes care. As diabetes and non-communicable diseases have a low profile on the global health agenda, twinning partnerships based on rigorous needs assessment have the capacity to make significant improvements in diabetes care at a relatively low level of investment. Moreover, this study suggests that the tool used might be of value in assessing progress in health system strengthening as well as in conducting the initial needs assessment.