24 April 2023 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

Mozambique’s mapping project improves understanding of transmission 

Mozambique’s National Leprosy Programme (NLP), led by Dr. Francisco Guilengue, has begun a leprosy mapping project to better understand the scale and spread of leprosy across the country and to improve the nation’s leprosy information system. 

Following the development of the country’s Zero Leprosy Roadmap and Action Plan, the NLP of Mozambique was awarded seed funding from GPZL to support the implementation of a mapping project, an activity in the Action Plan. The mapping project was jointly developed by Mozambique’s National Zero Leprosy Partnership, which includes the NLP, The Leprosy Mission, NLR, AIFO, among others.

Dr. Guilengue of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Arie de Kruijiff of The Leprosy Mission Mozambique, Dr.Litos Raimundo of NLR, and Dr. Paulo Hansine of AIFO have led phase one of the mapping project. At this stage, they reflect on lessons learned and what comes next.

Through the mapping project, they have evaluated a number of factors, including data quality, MDT stock, feedback mechanisms, and provincial and district integration and management. They are taking aggregate data from individual case-based data and making it visible at the national level. This level of visibility has drawn attention to the prevalence of leprosy in Mozambique. During this first phase of the mapping project, they learned that leprosy transmission is occurring on a wider and deeper scale than was known previously.

With a better understanding of the scale of the problem, the NLP is now able to advocate for resources and implement programs aimed at interrupting the transmission of leprosy. 

Additionally, they have updated and revised the mobile app that supports mapping procedures and continued to improve database maintenance. They have identified the need to link the monitoring systems more closely to the learning system.

Still, a broader basis of leprosy knowledge management is needed to address high staff turnover. Further integration with other programs and partners is also needed to improve sustainability. Mozambique’s National Zero Leprosy Partnership aims to maintain the momentum of the mapping project by promoting and piloting a new leprosy services model, increasing responsibility and accountability at the district level, applying metrics and highlighting performance, and creating learning systems that are linked to performance. They have also identified the need for two new national-level roles: a national fundraising coordinator and a learning domain and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) manager. 

As the mapping project progresses, the National Zero Leprosy Partnership looks forward to sharing additional lessons learned.