Marta Cossa has been working at Maputo Provincial Hospital, a province of the same name, for at least seven years. Like other health professionals in Mozambique, she always struggles with the burden of the work she provides to the patients.

The burden she faces is caused by the inequality generated by the ratio of a health professional per inhabitant.

Despite the barriers, she never thought of giving up her profession which constitutes “a childhood dream.” She had decided to give up her first year of accounting course in Mozambique, to fallow nursing studies in Brazil.

“We never give up. I try to do my job within the conditions we have. This is a problem faced across the country”, she says.

“If I leave, the situation could get worse. I got into this profession because I’ve always liked taking care of people”, she stresses.

Sitting in one of the hospital rooms, Cossa says that the lack of professionals in the National Health System (SNS) is a problem.

“I should assist between 30 and 50 patients. We need more human resources”, she defends.

Behind a mask that protects her from Covid-19, Cossa tells the Citizen Health Observatory (OCS) that usually works with a colleague – which means there are two people in the orthopedics sector, but there are days when “I’m alone in my sector.”

The National Inventory (SARA 2018) explains that the national average labor force ratio is 6 workers in the specific health area per 10,000 inhabitants.

It’s been very difficult to work with Covid-19. One day we see the contamination of a colleague and then the same colleague loses the life and we think: Maybe tomorrow it will be me

When Cossa began to pursue her professional activity in general medicine, Covid-19 was unthinkable.

At that time, the mask and the visor – which now cover her face – alcohol and gel and disposable cassock, were instruments that could be used optionally. 

In the corridors there was no fear of becoming infected or losing the life because of this disease.

“You see a colleague testing positive and, days later, you hear that same colleague has lost the life and you think: maybe tomorrow it will be me”, the professional gets it out of her chest.

The nurse adds that this has been the greatest fear of health professionals, since the first case of Covid-19, identified in Mozambique – in March of 2020.

So far, in Mozambique, at least 32 health professionals have lost their lives, victims of Covid-19, in a scenario in which the World Health Organization (WHO) advances that 10 percent of health professionals lose their lives victims of Covid-19.

When we restore a patient’s health, we are surer that we belong to this place

For the nurse, one of the best moments of the profession is when a patient get cured.

“We do everything we can to see the patient better and returning home. That’s the greatest satisfaction we have. It stay too much happy”, says Cossa, with her face behind a mask and a visor.

Because of the mask, it is not possible to see her facial expression. The emotions are hidden behind the mask, but her voice, half thin, reveals the joy.

“When we finish the day like this, we return home with happiness” says the professional.

In Brazil, as a student, she had the cultural barrier, but surpassed only by language.

Advices from colleagues were not enough for her to decide on establishing residence in Brazil.

 Her wish has always been to return home. On successful days, when assisting a patient, the nurse gains the certainty that she made the right decision upon returning to Mozambique

The nurse also laments the attitude of those colleagues “who demand money for the service they provide. That’s unethical. The colleagues who do this are a minority. We receive our salary and we should not make illegal charges. The professionals who do this represent a minority that stains the whole class.”

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