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Thinkwell Mozambique

Getting to Know our Team in Mozambique

10 March 2021

Across the world, ThinkWell staff are moving the needle on improving health and well-being around the globe. We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to some of our staff in Mozambique.

Yara Cumbi, Program Analyst

yara cumbi

Why did you decide to join ThinkWell?

Right before I came to ThinkWell in 2018 I had taken a break from public health to work in the private sector. It gave me a great understanding of how things work in Mozambique. There were a lot of things I had never considered much, such as how markets can affect health outcomes, how difficult operations and logistics are, and how these things are affected by policy. This experience gave me renewed interest in exploring these aspects of the health sector. Luckily, ThinkWell was advertising a job in medical commodity delivery.

What do you view as the greatest challenge to improving health and well-being in your country?

Currently, I think the biggest threats are the triple threats from a violent insurgency in northern Mozambique, the pandemic, and the climate crisis. These are all interlinked and the root causes need to be addressed. If I had to pick one, I would say the climate crisis is becoming too big to ignore. It is affecting Mozambicans daily through extreme weather events like hurricanes and cyclones as well as rising temperatures that create environments for more and new pathogens/diseases. This creates scarcity such as through droughts and lack of harvests.

What makes you hopeful about health progress in your country?

Working in health right now has been an eye opener. I recall people now knowing what public health was before the pandemic. I hope that this is teaching us all to value health more and to be more responsible for our communities and our own health. I have seen a renewed sense of urgency in the health sector that has inspired some innovate ways of working, such as faster funding flows. I think that is a much-needed improvement; donors should be better at responding to the immediate needs on the ground, and not just during emergencies.

What’s been the most meaningful lesson that you’ve learned during your health career?

I have been faced with a number of experiences that reminded me to stay humble and compassionate. As important as the work is, it’s not more important than listening to those you are trying to help and treating everyone with the dignity they deserve.

What’s a health statistic or fact that you can’t get out of your head? Why should everyone know it?

I think the alarming statistic is that there isn’t enough data! With more robust data we could learn more about who is affected most, how, when, and where. Unfortunately, this information often isn’t available and that is deeply concerning to me.

Antonio Candeiro, Senior Technical Advisor

Why did you decide to join ThinkWell?

Before ThinkWell, I was a HIV/AIDS care and treatment advisor. I joined ThinkWell because I like the exceptional team’s commitment to achieving universal health coverage (UHC). I also joined because I want to continue to support and contribute to the control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in my country. Through the ECHO project (Efficiency for Clinical HIV Outcomes), I’m helping to identify the major gaps that hinder progress in controlling the HIV epidemic. I’m also helping to implement innovative and accurate initiatives to be able to solve them, while taking into account the equity of health care for the recipient of care.

What do you view as the greatest challenge to improving health and well-being in your country?

The biggest challenge to improving health and well-being in Mozambique is equitable and qualitative access to preventive and curative health care, as we still have problems with access to health care in some regions.

What’s a health statistic or fact that you can’t get out of your head? Why should everyone know it?

During my clinical practice at the district level where I worked as District Chief Physician, we had an outbreak of diarrheal disease at the community level. I had to provide health education to the community around the use of Chlorine, which we call “Cloro” in Portuguese, for water purification. But the population misinterpreted what we were saying and thought that we were bringing Cholera to the community and that would lead to more diarrheal cases. This taught me the importance of really understanding the cultural context of the community that you’re trying to educate before you begin the work.

Aurora Milice, Program Analyst

Why did you decide to join ThinkWell?

I decided to join ThinkWell because of the great work culture and the encouragement provided to make sure we excel and have work-life balance.

What do you view as the greatest challenge to improving health and wellbeing in your country?

In Mozambique the greatest challenge is for HIV to be taken seriously and addressed rapidly and adequately. The HIV epidemic in Mozambique is expanding fast and its impact on society and families is drastically resulting in economic losses and substantial reductions in life expectancy.

What makes you hopeful about health progress in your country?

The progress made in improving Mozambicans’ health began when the government started to rebuild the health sector, restructuring the National Health System (NHS), and improving service delivery. As result, more health care facilities have been rehabilitated or newly built, many health posts were upgraded to health centers with maternity facilities. This helped increase life expectancy and reduce some of the common diseases associated with child and maternal mortality. But more efforts are needed, such as providing more efficient funding of health systems and improved sanitation/hygiene.

What’s been the most meaningful lesson that you’ve learned during your health career?

The most meaningful lesson I’ve learned are:

  1. I can’t succeed without failing: I learned that I must accept that failure is inevitable and approach every situation as a learning opportunity. More importantly, I learned that failing shows me how to succeed.
  2. I am never done learning: No matter how many degrees I have or how successful I am in my career, there is always room for growth.

What’s a health issue that you can’t get out of your head? Why should everyone know it?

I can’t get mental health issues out of my head. Mental health issues are actually very common and make it difficult for people to cope with the ordinary demands of life.

Jorge Moiane, Technical Advisor

Why did you decide to join ThinkWell?

I feel that at ThinkWell, the ideas of employees are respectfully heard. When I applied, I found it quite interesting to see a young organization growing as fast as ThinkWell. I also believe that the principles that guide its employees are really successful.

What do you see as the biggest challenge to improve health and well-being in your country?

Health is the most precious asset we have. It’s extremely important that we address health issues like HIV, tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases, and Covid. Our health system faces many challenges addressing these issues, especially given limited financial resources.

What makes you hopeful about health progress in your country?

Mozambicans are better understanding the diseases that most affect us. As a result, people are changing their social habits to prevent and control diseases.

What was the most significant lesson you learned during your healthcare career?

During the 13 years that I’ve work in health, I learned that the most important thing is to give thanks for the gift of life, because it is all we have.

What is a statistic or health fact that you can’t get out of your head? Why should everyone know this?

Recently, Covid cases have increased exponentially. More needs to be done to raise awareness among the public and teach people prevention strategies.

Salomão Lourenco, Senior Program Manager

Why did you decide to join ThinkWell?

Before I joined ThinkWell I was completely unmotivated in the job I was in. ThinkWell appeared as a breath of fresh air for the innovative way it does business.

What do you view as the greatest challenge to improving health and wellbeing in your country?

In Mozambique, there is a lack of strategic allocation of resources, lack of appropriate integration of different sectors of the economy, and poor performance of budgets due to corruption and other unethical behavior.

What makes you hopeful about health progress in your country?

I’m hopeful about a few things:

  • Current public financial management reforms around result-oriented budgets
  • Ongoing reforms in the health sector that will help make progress towards universal health coverage
  • The ongoing decentralization process that will enable local governments to make decisions about heath services at the local level

What’s a health statistic or fact that you can’t get out of your head? Why should everyone know it?

Despite the increase in institutional births, maternal mortality remains high in Mozambique.

Sheila Muxlhanga, Program Analyst

Why did you decide to join ThinkWell?

One of the reasons that led me to join ThinkWell was the fact that it was a renowned institution and that I could grow professionally. Plus, I already knew some colleagues at ThinkWell with whom I had very good working relationships—this contributed a lot to me embracing this challenge.

What do you view as the greatest challenge to improving health and wellbeing in your country?

The biggest challenge to improving health and well-being in my country is increasing the number of hospitals so the entire population has access to hospitals.

What makes you hopeful about health progress in your country?

Young people are embracing public health professions!

What was the most significant lesson you learned during your healthcare career?

The most important thing is life. Nothing else is a priority when it comes to saving lives.

What’s a health statistic or fact that you can’t get out of your head? Why should everyone know it?

Even today, there are those who do not believe that Covid-19 is a reality. I think that everyone should be aware of this reality because this disease is decimating lives day after day.

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