We improved children's emergency services through infrastructure, training and also Theatre So Good – a play by Jacopo Fo.


About the project

The Eni Foundation worked to improve the healthcare services on offer in Palma, one of the 17 districts of the city of Pemba in the Cabo Delgado region. With 60,000 inhabitants and an economy based on fishing, the main causes of infant mortality in the city are malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia, malnutrition and HIV. The direct beneficiaries of our initiative were pregnant women and newborn children, but healthcare professionals based in the department of obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology in the main Health Centre and the six centres that offer emergency obstetric care also benefitted. Indirectly, all inhabitants of the district of Palma gained from our programme, because they can now take advantage of improved healthcare services. The project lasted five years, from 2013 to 2017, and cost  5 million and 230 thousand.

Children's health: an investment in the future

In the district of Palma, the number of facilities and qualified healthcare staff is below the standards set out by the Mozambican Ministry of Health, and the quality of reproductive and child health is below the national average.

Our achievements

Our project began by improving the main health services in the Palma district. A suite of operating theatres was built at Palma Health Centre for emergency obstetric care and supplied with radiology, ultrasound and lab equipment to improve the accuracy of diagnoses. A delivery house was built to accommodate pregnant women from the most remote and difficult to access areas. In addition, we provided an off-road vehicle to offer various mobile clinical services and monitor outlying healthcare centres.

Our infrastructure work was followed up with a training programme. During 2014, various training courses were held at Palma Health Centre dedicated to medical, nursing, technical and administrative staff throughout the district.

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Vocational Training: Results

Course type Staff trained No. courses Hours of training
Emergency obstetrics and puerperal sepsis 32 healthcare workers 2 12
Neonatal care and emergency paediatrics 38 healthcare workers 3 120
Neonatal obstetric care 14 healthcare workers 1 120
Health Information System 28 health centre managers 1 18
Training for traditional midwives 25 traditional midwives 1 35
PMTCT* 29 healthcare workers 2 14
Ultrasound techniques 8 healthcare workers 1 40
TOTAL 174 11 359
* Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection.

The project’s aims

To support the Mozambican authorities in reducing neonatal, infant and maternal mortality in the Palma district by improving the quality of medical services for mothers and children and their access to them.

Our partners

The Eni Foundation financed the project and was responsible for managing it, working in partnership with:

  • the Mozambican Ministry of Health (MISAU), the Province of Capo Delgado Provincial Health Administration, the District Health Office Administration and the management of the Palma District Health Centre
  • Doctors with Africa (CUAMM), an NGO that is deeply rooted in the area and has a long-standing and accredited presence in Mozambique (working there since 1978).

The work took place in close collaboration with the provincial and district health authorities and was endorsed by the cabinet of the First Lady Maria da Luz Guebuza.

Theatre So Good. Health through theatre

Another part of our healthcare project in Mozambique was Theatre So Good, devised and supported by the Eni Foundation, coordinated by Jacopo Fo and Bruno Patierno and created with the support of the NGO Doctors with Africa (CUAMM).


Our achievements

Presenting both a play and a source of health information, the actors on stage sought to pass on good hygiene, health and nutritional practices to the local population in an alternative and innovative way: the show looked at caring for newborn children, washing hands frequently and the best way to handle food and drinking water at home. Seven Mozambican actors performed, 32 people were involved in the project and 100 Mozambican actors auditioned. For more information, visit the project's website, which documents the casting and the start of rehearsals and contains biographies of the actors, a web series and a travel diary.

Country Data: Mozambique

Population (millions) 27.978
Life expectancy at birth (years) 56/59
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)  
- 0-5 years
- 0-12 months
- neonatal
% born underweight (2006-10) 16.9
% children aged 0-5 underweight (moderate or severe, 2006-10) 14.9
% children aged 0-5 with stunted growth (moderate or severe, 2006-10) 42.6
Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births, 2006-10) 410
Lifetime risk of maternal death (2008) 1 su 43
Gross National Income per capita (US $) 510
Healthcare spending  
- as % of Gross National Income (2010) source: WHO
- as % of state expenditure (2010) source: WHO
Source: UNICEF 2016