F. Sousa,J. Schwalbach, Y. Adam, L. Goncalves, P. Ferrinho
Family Medicine, 2008
"Mozambique, previously a Portuguese colony on the southeast coast of Africa, has a population of more than 19 million people. In 1999 there were only 406 medical doctors in Mozambique and of these, 298 were specialists and 58% practiced in the capital city, Maputo. There are two medical schools, the largest being a public institution; the University Eduardo Mondlane is located in the capital of Maputo. The authors, all from Portugal, were interested in understanding the demographics, expectations, and difficulties faced by medical students there. The authors distributed a questionnaire in 1999 to all 441 registered medical students at the university, and 51% returned completed ones. The students had a mean age of 23, and 61% were women. Although Maputo city and province has only 6% of the country’s population, almost two thirds finished their high school education in Maputo. Ninety percent reported that their parents were in health care as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or other health sector personnel. The two main reasons for choosing medicine as a profession were “to contribute toward the welfare of the public” and “self-realization.” Only 25% received financial support to go to medical school; most were “self-financing” their medical school education. Almost three fifths reported financial difficulties. Sixty-six percent reported that the lack of available reference books caused difficulties. Many students had to repeat one or more years of medical school. Only 44% were satisfied or partially satisfied with the lectures, and 52% felt the training was adequate. Eighty-two percent hoped to work full time or part time in the public sector. After graduating they hoped to earn, on average, about $1,200 a month, although the authors report the average salary in the public sector is only abut $350/ month for new doctors. The authors note that this sets the scene for dual practice (public/ private) to improve earnings. The authors conclude that most students migrated to the capital city before entering medical school and will likely return to the capital once their term of compulsory rural service is completed. Their level of academic performance was poor, probably related to lack of library facilities and financial support. The students know they will be needed in the public sector but will likely do private practice to improve their earnings."