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Assessment of the nursing skill mix in Mozambique using a task analysis methodology
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    The density of the nursing and maternal child health nursing workforce in Mozambique (0.32/1000) is well below the WHO minimum standard of 1 nurse per 1000. Two levels of education were being offered for both nurses and maternal child health nurses, in programmes ranging from 18 to 30 months in length. The health care workforce in Mozambique also includes Medical Technicians and Medical Agents, who are also educated at either basic or mid-level. The Ministry of Health determined the need to document the tasks that each of the six cadres was performing within various health facilities to identify gaps, and duplications, in order to identify strategies for streamlining workforce production, while retaining highest educational and competency standards. The methodology of task analysis (TA) was used to achieve this objective. This article provides information about the TA methodology, and selected outcomes of the very broad study.


    A cross-sectional descriptive task analysis survey was conducted over a 15 month period (2008–2009). A stratified sample of 1295 individuals was recruited from every type of health facility in all of Mozambique’s 10 provinces and in Maputo City. Respondents indicated how frequently they performed any of 233 patient care tasks. Data analysis focused on identifying areas where identical tasks were performed by the various cadres. Analyses addressed frequency of performance, grouped by level of educational preparation, within various types of health facilities.


    Task sharing ranged from 74% to 88% between basic and general nurse cadres and from 54% to 88% between maternal and child health nurse cadres, within various health facility types. Conversely, there was distinction between scope of practice for nursing and maternal/child health nursing cadres.


    The educational pathways to general nursing and maternal/child health nursing careers were consolidated into one 24 month programme for each career. The scopes of practice were affirmed based on task analysis survey data.

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