The gap between scientific evidence and decision making is a significant challenge in combating public health issues in Mozambique. Australia Awards alumna Ana Quimasse Muteerwa is determined to make a difference by advocating for developing and scaling up successful evidence-based strategies in the health sector.
“Public health and scientific advancement are best served when data and other authoritative information is openly shared and used by those that need it for their important work. Health care providers, educators, policymakers, businesses, and private-sector organisations shouldn’t be left out,” says Ana, a Public Health Research Evaluation Specialist at a non-government organization in Mozambique. “It’s important to increase efforts to support and develop innovative and tailored approaches for effectively disseminating and using evaluation and research results to make decisions and plan programs.”
Ana completed a Master in Global Health at the University of Queensland in 2018, which equipped her with analytical and research skills. She learned, for example, how Australia uses analysis and critical thinking mechanisms in health and how to replicate these in low and middle-income countries.
Armed with her new knowledge and skills, Ana began advocating for developing and scaling up successful evidence-based health strategies in her home country. She is convinced that using locally produced scientific evidence to make decisions that will help address major health issues in Mozambique.
Supporting the strengthening of the National Health Information System, Ana worked with colleagues from Mozambique’s National Health Institute, the National Monitoring and Evaluation Health Department and the Clinic and Community Health non-government organisation. Through her technical support clinical partners developed health care protocols, scientist manuscripts and abstracts and ensured proper distribution of health information for decision making. Also, she is supporting the Mozambique National Health Institute, draft the National Project Evaluation Plan.
Th Plan will ensure a robust health database is in place providing evidence data on health interventions for decision makers. This includes providing data to support key stakeholders in the fight against health challenges in different areas.
In her quest to scale up evidence-based, innovative health strategies, Ana is fully aware of the challenges Mozambique faces without a national research and evaluation plan.
“Research and evaluations are ad-hoc, which prevents the development of research-oriented to program challenges and sector objectives,” says Ana. “The skills and knowledge I gained in Australia empowered me to support the research and evaluation agenda for the health sector in Mozambique and support the development of scientific products and evidence for decision making.”
Reflecting on her achievements, Ana attributes her successes to her Australian education and the new ways of thinking she was exposed to while on her Australia Award.
“I’m proud that my work is contributing to produce important health scientific products to reduce the impact of health issues in Mozambique population,” says Ana. “Raising awareness of the need to use available data and the results of local scientific studies to support developing and defining local health programs is a big step forward.”
Photo Credit: Ana Quimasse Muteerwa