Current Market Trends
Population: 28 million (2016)
GDP*: USD 11 billion (2016)
Currency: Mozambican Metical
Language: Portuguese (official), English (business), others
The government of Mozambique is the main provider of healthcare services for the majority of the population. The Ministry of Health is responsible for public hospitals and health centers. Only 40% of the population has access to health facilities which are concentrated in urban areas. The remaining 60% relies on traditional approaches for their medical needs involving community health agents, elementary agents and birth attendants. Healthcare facilities in the rural areas of the country lack even the most basic resources, including electricity and running water.
In 2016, the national health system began to deteriorate due to an economic downturn caused by the discovery of previously non-disclosed government loans. The government’s lack of transparency in public debt portfolio led international donors and the IMG to suspend budget support. As a result, the Ministry of Health has very limited ability to provide assistance to the population, implement new national projects, or purchase medical equipment.
Communicable diseases pose as the main health challenge in Mozambique. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is now responsible for a third of all deaths, and the mortality rate for children under five suffering from malaria is 1,159 per 100,000. Additionally, according to the 2012 World Health Organization report, tuberculosis affects an alarming number, infecting patients with an estimated incidence rate of 552 per 100,000 people. Non communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer, are also on the rise, affecting a considerable portion of the population.
Over the past decade, continuous public sector investment and policy implementation has resulted in substantial improvements in maternal and child health indicators. The government of Mozambique focused on decentralizing the management of public sector resources to the district level, which included the health sector, with the aim of moving decision-making and resources closer to the service recipients. However, weak district level management capacity has hindered this decentralization process. Building the district level capacity is an important link to ensuring that resources translate to improved service delivery and further health sector improvements.
Using an agent or distributor helps to establish and secure a market presence in Mozambique in addition to building personal connections and relationships. Furthermore, agents help companies overcome licensing and other time-consuming requirements, as well as stay abreast of regulatory changes. In general, finding a reliable agent or distributor requires a visit to meet with local businesspeople. The U.S. Commercial Service in Mozambique assists U.S. firms interested in building a relationship with local partners.
Many companies acknowledge the value of establishing a local office in Mozambique to assist in dealing with local officials and clients. At a minimum, this involves registration with government institutions, namely the Ministry of Industry and Commerce; City Municipality and National Customs Agency. Consultation with the Investments Promotion Center (CPI) is recommended to learn about tax breaks and other incentives that exist for certain types of investments. Licensing and other time-consuming requirements remain a problem, and institutionalized red tape can obstruct or delay the securing of local licenses and permits. Coordination with the relevant government ministries or regulatory agencies is important to avoid unnecessary delays. Most U.S. firms hire a consulting firm to assist with the registration process, and small-to-medium-sized businesses can expect to experience longer delays.
The Ministry of Health works with international NGOs to form strategic partnerships that address weaknesses of the public health system. U.S. organizations such as USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have implemented programs to improve basic health services. Additionally, the government often invites foreign companies to bid for tenders of medical devices as well as pharmaceutical drugs. Eligible U.S. suppliers should take advantage of such opportunities to do business with the government, which is the largest client in the market.
Mozambique’s healthcare system faces delivery challenges as it tries to provide adequate services to a growing population. It is beginning to focus on cost-effectiveness and scalability to meet high patient volumes. As an attempt to meet the demand, it is integrating solutions such as telemedicine.
Furthermore, the public health system has a huge gap in both basic medical services and hospital care. Patients usually travel to South Africa, Portugal and India to get medical treatment. The number of potential medical tourists rose from about 8,000 in 2003 to approximately 230, 000 in recent years. The private sector is investing in private hospitals and clinics that offer state-of-art equipment and pharmaceuticals that were previously unavailable in the country.
Even though Mozambique is a low income country and its infrastructure is underdeveloped, the government continues to show its engagement to develop healthcare infrastructure by tackling the country's shortages of health professionals and clinics with the aid of foreign investors. Additionally, large scale projects in the mining and oil and gas sectors are driving demand for well-equipped healthcare facilities in remote areas.
The medical device industry is highly dominated by Indian and Brazilian suppliers, followed closely by Chinese companies. European brands dominate in the diagnosis equipment market. Competition from local production is almost non-existent, as Mozambique imports most of its medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
Mozambique’s healthcare priorities include, polio and measles elimination, maternal and infant care, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS control, and non-communicable disease prevention. Such diseases demand for investments in vaccines, drugs and medical facilities by the government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), multilateral agencies and the private sector.
There is a small number of local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. The country imports most of its pharmaceutical drugs and it often faces supply shortages, especially for high end antibiotics, vitamins and medicinal cosmetics.
Furthermore, there is a high demand for used medical equipment, including hospital beds, by small and mid-sized private health clinics, diagnostic centers and laboratories. Population growth is fueling the demand for medical devices and diagnostic equipment.
In Mozambique, public medical care is provided at-cost for immediate payment. Most patients pay for their hospital visits and medical assistance. However out-of-pocket expenditure corresponds to 6.4% of the of government budget. The Ministry of Health relies heavily on assistance from foreign donors. Additionally, there is a growing number of insurance companies that provide coverage to a small portion of the population.
Market authorization is obtained from the Ministry of Health in Mozambique to sell medicine. The primary components of registration include:
1-A: Summary of process administrative information
1-B: Characteristics of medicine
2: Chemical and pharmaceutical documentation
3: Documentation on security
4: Documentation on effectiveness
Lack of distribution networks and infrastructure is problematic, often leading to drug scarcity. Theft of medicines and equipment is also an issue, as well as an abundance of counterfeit drugs. There is a wide gap between the quality of healthcare provision in rural and urban areas. Over-reliance on traditional medicine may slow market growth.
Procurement & Tenders
The procurement management unit (UGEA) is the agency responsible for making purchases for the Ministry of Health, including all medical equipment and supplies for all public health care centers in the country. For government tenders, visit:
U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information
Name: Fiyona Guitunga
Position: Commercial Assistant
Phone: +258 843 141 689
Market Size Unit: USD Thousands
Healthcare spending (including investment)
USD 778 000
... as percent of GDP
... of which spent on inpatient services (including long-term care)
USD 74 465
... of which spent on pharmaceuticals/consumables
USD 304 574
... of which spent on investments
USD 29 692
... of which spent on outpatient services
Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals UN:
Number of hospitals
... available beds per capita
Number of surgical procedures
0.06 physicians/1,000 population
Population 25 930 150
Life expectancy men/women Total population: 53.3 years
Infant mortality Total: 67.9 deaths /1000 live births
Male: 70 deaths / 1000 live births
Female: 65.9 deaths/ 1000 live births
Percent of population older than 65 4.95
Annual deaths 11.9 deaths/ 1000 population
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