Work is underway to build a new provincial hospital in Matola, near Maputo, taking pressure off existing facilities in the capital.

The construction of the $9.5 million hospital is running slightly behind schedule but health minister Ivo Garrido has said it should be ready by the end of next year. Original plans put the completion date at April 2011.

When finished, the hospital will have 400 beds, three operating theatres and a medical laboratory, offering improved services and facilities to the 1.2 million inhabitants of Maputo province. It is being funded by a combination of international loans and money from the state.