Last Friday morning I had just emerged from a meeting with Minister Paulo Ivo Garrido, who I have posted a blog about previously. Minister Garrido was confirmed as the Minister for Health of Mozambique for a second term following the inauguration of President Guebuza on the 14th of January.
The Minister, a surgeon, is an extremely punctual person, and I had to run up the stairs to the eighth floor to ensure I arrived in good time for the 8am appointment, which in this heat was not sensible!
I congratulated the Minister on his appointment for a second mandate. Minister Garrido has clearly set out his vision for health in Mozambique and aims to take forward a number of policy issues that have been discussed over the past couple of years.
I have attached a picture of Minister Garrido with Dr Celia Goncalves, who is currently leading the planning of the annual review of the health sector, which I mentioned in a blog post earlier this week. Together, we briefly discussed planned changes to the annual review which we hope will help strengthen the Ministry's own monitoring and evaluation systems.
Our discussion included mention of the Commonwealth Heads of Government held in Port of Spain where Members of the Commonwealth said they were committed to achieving universal coverage of health services, which would be free at the point of use, particularly for the poorest women and children.
Mozambique already has free services for Mothers and Children under 5, and spoke about this policy at the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals, in a meeting chaired by Sarah Brown. The ongoing need to ensure that the cost of health services should not be a barrier to any Mozambican accessing health care will be an important area for discussion over the coming months.