Neusa Jessen (Mozambique)


Assistant specialist and researcher, Maputo Central Hospital

Auxiliar Professor of Medicine in training, Faculty of Medicine of Eduardo Mondlane University 


Maputo Central Hospital

Faculty of Medicine of Eduardo Mondlane University

What is your role at your work?

As a cardiologist, professor and researcher at the reference Public Hospital and main University of Mozambique, I take care of patients, coordinate programs, conduct research and teach undergraduate and postgraduate students. With the Mozambican Heart Association, I advocate for improving the cardiovascular health of the population.

How did you get interested in your career path?

I fell in love with Cardiology at medical school. Starting my practice in a remote, resourceless district, feeling helpless many times, made me realize the huge gap that we have in Public Health, particularly for chronic conditions such as hypertension. To contribute to the fight, I decided to learn more, research, advocate, and teach.

What are you most proud of in your career or otherwise?

I really feel more thankful than proud. I am thankful that besides all difficulties I am constantly being inspired and helped to follow what I believe in and fight for my goals; I am thankful for being able to care for my loved ones; and I am thankful for being able to help others in different ways, including those climbing the same steps.

What important career challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

Being a student and working mother, I have to be organized to manage my time and know when to ask for help; having financial constraints and a lack of local support to study and conduct research, I apply for scholarships and keep alert to not loose opportunities; being from a Portuguese speaking country, I had to learn English and practise this on a regular basis.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Time, energy and money are limited resources so, define what you really like and want to do, make that your personal commitment and avoid wasting resources. Accept challenges, believe in your ability to manage obstacles but be self-reflective, and transform setbacks into lessons learned. Save contacts, create your future network.

Highlight your most significant research contributions and publications (3-5) – if relevant to you.

My research focus is on epidemiology, prevention and management of Cardiovascular diseases, particularly in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

I contributed to current knowledge on: hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment and control in Mozambique (J Hypertens. 2017 Nov 27. Doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001618);

Sodium and potassium intake by the Mozambican population (Foods. 2022 Feb 25;11(5):688. doi: 10.3390/foods11050688; Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Dec;72(12):1690-1699. doi: 10.1038/s41430-018-0125-y);

Access to cardiovascular care in Maputo city, capital of Mozambique (Global Heart, 18(1), p.8.DOI:

Currently, I am part of a global collaborative research group working on cardiovascular health trajectories from early childhood in LMICs (CJC Open(2024), doi:

Have you had any significant career mentors? If yes, please provide further details.

Besides my father, my first mentor, Professor Damasceno’s dedication to teaching and research inspired me and his guidance led me to pursue a PhD degree in public health, that was crucial in my career path. From there other mentors have been fundamental to my progress: in particular, Professors Lunet, Sliwa and Labarthe.

How can we support the next generation of women scientists?

Sharing success stories of women in research can inspire others from similar backgrounds; creating and sharing platforms with tools to help women navigate their careers in science, such as simple guides on “how to” do things, providing mentoring and opening opportunities for early career scientists to start, showcase or improve their work, would be helpful.