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Major surgery delegation to mid-level health practitioners in Mozambique: health professionals' perceptions

Cumbi, Amelia; Pereira, Caetano; Malalane, Raimundo; Vaz, Fernando; McCord, Colin; Bacci, Alberta; Bergström, Staffan

Background: This study examines the opinions of health professionals about the capacity and performance of the 'técnico de cirurgia', a surgically trained assistant medical officer in the Mozambican health system. Particular attention is paid to the views of medical doctors and maternal and child health nurses. Methods: The results are derived from a qualitative study using both semi-structured interviews and group discussions. Health professionals (n = 71) were interviewed at both facility and system level. Eight group discussion sessions of about two hours each were run in eight rural hospitals with a total of 48 participants. Medical doctors and district officers were excluded from group discussion sessions due to their hierarchical position which could have prevented other workers from expressing opinions freely. Results: Health workers at all levels voiced satisfaction with the work of the "técnicos de cirurgia". They stressed the life-saving skills of these cadres, the advantages resulting from a reduction in the need for patient referrals and the considerable cost reduction for patients and their families. Important problems in the professional status and remuneration of "técnicos de cirurgia" were identified. Conclusion: This study, the first one to scrutinize the judgements and attitudes of health workers towards the "técnico de cirurgia", showed that, despite some shortcomings, this cadre is highly appreciated and that the health delivery system does not recognize and motivate them enough. The findings of this study can be used to direct efforts to improve motivation of health workers in general and of técnicos de cirurgia in particular.

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Title
Human Resources for Health
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/1478-4491-5-27

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Academic Units
Surgery
Published Here
September 9, 2014
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