Since successfully completing the construction of new health infrastructure – four rural maternity clinics, three large maternity waiting homes and three small maternity waiting homes – the project has been working to make each new health facility a model of gender-sensitive, humanized, community-engaged care. As part of this process, the latest health training courses have focused on some of the players and processes least visible to the public but essential to the provision of quality maternal health care: general service employees and waste management.

Eight staff members from the new health facilities participated in a two-day training session on biomedical waste management and health facility upkeep in the ongoing COVID-19 context. The first day took place in classrooms at the Massinga Institution for Health Training. During the second day, participants travelled to the new maternity in Tevele, Massinga for on-site practical training experience. The project’s Environmental Coordinator facilitated the training in collaboration with provincial health directorate managers for waste management and maintenance and project staff. Horácio Mandevo, the project’s Acting Mozambique Director, said that this training was especially important for strengthening the general service employees’ communication skills and highlighting their important roles in preventing sickness, promoting good health, and creating a positive environment for health facility users.

Each person who participated in the training session is responsible for their facility’s general cleaning and upkeep and is now the biomedical waste management focal point. The project developed this training course as an innovation to reach the key people involved in this area of work. None of the participants had been engaged in continuing education or on-site training activities prior to this and everyone agreed that the experience was highly useful. The group left feeling more confident in their work and more valued for their contributions to the overall success of the health facilities’ provision of high quality maternal and newborn care.