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Community health workers: Bringing health services to the remotest areas

Dust devils are swirling through Catsanha, a village of about a dozen huts scattered across a dusty plane in Moatize district. Big industries have recently moved in to for the coal reserves, so abundant in this part of the country, and yet while natural resources removed from the ground here help keep our modern societies running, people in the village still face the grim reality of undernutrition and child deaths from easily preventable diseases.

Jose Azevedo works as a community health worker, a Agente Polivalente Elementar as they are called in Mozambique, in Catsanha and surrounding communities. With 20 kilometers to the nearest health center, he provides health promotion and basic health services, related mainly to the three main killers of children in Mozambique, namely malaria, diarrhea and acute respiratory infections.

‘I was chosen by my own community to become a health worker. It is important to help your family and your community“, Azevedo explains.

Supplied with a bike by the programme, community health workers go door-to-door visiting the community. The distances are vast and the dirt roads are full of potholes and sharp rocks that can easily rip into a tire. Under the shade of a colossal Baobab tree, an attentive audience of UNICEF Japan representatives, on an official visit of the country this week, listens carefully as Azevedo speaks about the challenges he faces.

‘It is difficult to find spare parts and the tires are very expensive. Some of the communities I visit are very far from here and even with a bike it is difficult to reach them. Without a bike it would be impossible for me to do my work’, Azevedo adds.

For further information, please contact:

Patricia Nakell, UNICEF Mozambique,
Tel: +258 82 312 1820; Email:

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique,
Tel. (+258) 21 481 100; Email:



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