About Mozambique

Located on the coast of southwest Africa, the Republic of Mozambique is a large country of about 30.9 million people. As much as two-thirds of the Mozambican population live in rural areas and along its long coastline. Maputo, the capital, is located on the shore and is known for being a vibrant and lively tropical city. Nearly 99 percent of the population falls into a few major ethnic groups, including the Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, and Sena. Portuguese is the official language, but local languages are used as well. Mozambique is also a religiously diverse country, with a population that includes Roman Catholics, Muslims, Zionist Christians, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals.

Ruled by Portugal in the colonial era, Mozambique experienced violent conflict during the latter half of the 20th century. In 1975, a temporary and controversial Marxist government held power. Over the past three decades, Mozambique has seen its economy grow steadily. Yet despite economic and political progress, Mozambique faces an Islamic rebellion in Cabo Delgado, which has contributed to instability. In addition, much of the country’s population is vulnerable to natural disasters such as cyclones and tropical storms. These factors, among others, have resulted in endemic poverty rates countrywide.

Mozambique is challenged by a burden of disease that can be largely attributed to high poverty levels. Only 35 percent of the population is within 30 minutes of a health facility. As a result, diseases that cause the most deaths include HIV/AIDS, neonatal disorders, tuberculosis, malaria, lower respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, and protein-energy malnutrition. Additionally, stroke and ischemic heart disease have risen over time as the non-communicable diseases that contribute to the most deaths in Mozambique. Road injuries have also increased and pose a significant health challenge, becoming a top cause of death in the country.

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