After a 40-year-long civil war that displaced one-third of Angola’s population and killed approximately 1 million people, the nation’s infrastructure was severely damaged. Following the civil war, healthcare in Angola suffered, with nearly 50% of the population living without adequate access to healthcare services. The lack of availability of healthcare services has contributed to high mortality rates for children under 5 years of age, high incidences of mother-to-child HIV transmission as well as a high risk of contracting malaria. Here are five facts about healthcare in Angola.
5 Facts About Healthcare in Angola
- Access to healthcare in Angola varies greatly depending on the region. People in more populous regions such as Maradi, Tahoua, Zinder and Tillaberi have the least access to healthcare services. Angola struggles to keep its healthcare infrastructure adequately sourced with nearly 50% of the population lacking proper healthcare services.
- As recently as 2018, the mortality rate for children under 5 years was approximately 77 children per 1,000 live births. Despite a high mortality rate for children under 5 years, the number of children under 5 dying each year has been steadily declining since 1980. In comparison, the neighboring countries of Zambia and Namibia had mortality rates for children under 5 years of 57 per 1,000 live births and 39 per 1,000 live births respectively in 2018. Inadequate sanitation contributes to a high mortality rate for children under 5 years in Angola. In Angola, 49.3% of people do not have access to clean drinking water and 54.7% of schools do not have adequate sanitation facilities.
- Angola has the second-highest incidence rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the world. The incidence rate of mother-to-child transmission sits at 26%. During the fiscal year 2020, the CDC plans to provide support to implement the Born Free to Shine Initiative. The first lady of Angola established the Born Free to Shine Initiative with the goal of reducing the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The initiative seeks to reduce the transmission rate to 14% from 26% by 2021.
- Malaria is the fourth leading cause of death among people living in Angola with the entire population at risk of contracting the disease. USAID is an organization that has given aid to the region, subsequently reducing the number of malaria-related deaths in children by 42% since 2005. Community health worker training has been an integral piece in Angola’s efforts to combat malaria. In 2019, Angola trained 120 of these health workers in order to help provide treatment for malaria in areas with low access to healthcare services.
- The National Health Development Plan is a program that sets specific goals for Angola’s health sector. The program aims to meet its long-term goals by 2025. More specifically, the Angolan government hopes to see a reduction of 2% in the prevalence of HIV, increase access to family planning services by 39% and raise the number of doctors per 100,000 people from one to three.
Despite facing a number of challenges, government programs and aid from international agencies are improving the outlook for healthcare in Angola. Community health workers are helping to increase access to essential healthcare services in high need areas of the nation. With government plans and the implementation of initiatives, Angola is well on its way to meeting the goals that its National Health Development Plan has outlined.
– Maddi Miller