Background: Large increases in health sector investment and policies favoring upgrading and expanding the public sector health network have prioritized maternal and child health in Mozambique and, over the past decade, Mozambique has achieved substantial improvements in maternal and child health indicators. Over this same period, the government of Mozambique has continued to decentralize the management of public sector resources to the district level, including in the health sector, with the aim of bringing decision-making and resources closer to service beneficiaries. Weak district level management capacity has hindered the decentralization process, and building this capacity is an important link to ensure that resources translate to improved service delivery and further improvements in population health. A consortium of the Ministry of Health, Health Alliance International, Eduardo Mondlane University, and the University of Washington are implementing a health systems strengthening model in Sofala Province, central Mozambique.
Description of implementation: The Mozambique Population Health Implementation and Training (PHIT) Partnership focuses on improving the quality of routine data and its use through appropriate tools to facilitate decision making by health system managers; strengthening management and planning capacity and funding district health plans; and building capacity for operations research to guide system-strengthening efforts. This seven-year effort covers all 13 districts and 146 health facilities in Sofala Province.
Evaluation design: A quasi-experimental controlled time-series design will be used to assess the overall impact of the partnership strategy on under-5 mortality by examining changes in mortality pre- and post-implementation in Sofala Province compared with neighboring Manica Province. The evaluation will compare a broad range of input, process, output, and outcome variables to strengthen the plausibility that the partnership strategy led to health system improvements and subsequent population health impact.
Discussion: The Mozambique PHIT Partnership expects to provide evidence on the effect of efforts to improve data quality coupled with the introduction of tools, training, and supervision to improve evidence-based decision making. This contribution to the knowledge base on what works to enhance health systems is highly replicable for rapid scale-up to other provinces in Mozambique, as well as other sub-Saharan African countries with limited resources and a commitment to comprehensive primary health care.