Angola: Our Impact

Linking Mothers and Couples to HIV Testing and Care Shortly after the birth of her second child, Manuela dos Santos learned that she was HIV positive. Fearing how her family and friends might react to her diagnosis, she kept her status a secret for weeks. Fortunately, her child was born HIV negative, but Manuela’s health quickly deteriorated. At just 25 years old, she was losing weight, sleep, and the ability to care for her newborn child.

May 30th, 2016, LINKAGES’ Peer Educators Training. It is the first day, time for each peer educator-to-be to introduce themselves to the group. Claudia* is nervous and apprehensive as she has never spoken in public before, let alone as a sex worker. With the help from the facilitator, she manages to say a few words, though her voice trembles almost inaudibly as her gaze faces the floor.February 22nd, 2018, LINKAGES’ Police Training on the Protection of Key Populations.

{Photo Credit: Health for All Project Staff}Photo Credit: Health for All Project Staff

From January 30 to February 7, 2018, Angola’s Health for All (HFA) Project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), welcomed global health expert, Dr. Alaine Nyaruhirira, for a week-long training on the use of GeneXpert – technology that has become a game-changer in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

{Photo Credit: Health for All Project Staff/USAID Angola} Eva Hadi Dos Santos, Community Counselor, and Suzeth de Moráis António, Patient Assistant Facilitator, from Viana Health Center, Luanda, Angola.Photo Credit: Health for All Project Staff/USAID Angola

It happened on July 10, 2017, at the Viana Health Center, one of the nine health facilities supported by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Luanda, Angola. Maria, a young mother, brought in her 15 month-old child, seeking care for severe malnutrition. In accordance with clinical guidelines, the child was tested for HIV by the Counseling and Testing Service and was identified as HIV positive. Immediately, Maria was also tested and was found to be HIV positive as well.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

 

A technician tests a child for malaria at a health center in Kinshasa, DRC.Photo Credit: Aubrey Clark

The USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, led by MSH, recently published the results of its activities in eight countries (Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Guinea, Mali, and South Sudan) to control malaria.

 {Photo credit: AAM}Manuel, an AAM activist, conducts a sensitization session in Sambizanga district, Luanda.Photo credit: AAM

Angola, like many countries, struggles to provide good sexual and reproductive health (SRH), especially for youth. SRH is a “state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being related to sexuality and to the reproductive system” (UNFPA). Good SRH implies that both men and women have a right to decide about their sexual identity, sex life, and if and when to have children. 

 {Photo courtesy: SIAPS Angola}National Malaria Control Program and SIAPS staff doing inventory control during a field visit.Photo courtesy: SIAPS Angola

In Angola, the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP)’s 2013 annual report suggests that malaria alone represents 35 percent of all curative treatment demands, 20 percent of hospital admissions, 40 percent of perinatal deaths, and 25 percent of maternal deaths. Universal and continuous availability of recommended artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and rapid diagnosis tests (RDTs) are a critical prerequisite for the effective management of clinical malaria.

{Photo credit: BLC staff/MSH.}Photo credit: BLC staff/MSH.

“You are stronger than this disease,” Ana’s sister reminds her. Ana Paz is a 35-year-old community health worker for Mwenho, a civil society organization in Angola. She works at Centro de Salúde de Alegria, a public health facility in the capital city, Luanda. Her day is busy, providing HIV counseling and testing (HCT), basic medication, and support to people living with HIV.

 {Photo credit: Jabulani Mavudze/MSH}A community health agent conducting home-based HIV testing and counseling in Cunene Province, Angola.Photo credit: Jabulani Mavudze/MSH

Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa discovered too late that they had an HIV epidemic, and some of these countries were equally slow to respond. This has had devastating consequences in terms of deaths due to AIDS, and new HIV infections among adults and children. Angola, due in part to the country's civil war and resulting insulation, is one of the few countries in the sub-Saharan region with a relatively low HIV prevalence, giving the country a unique opportunity to maintain and reduce the prevalence by implementing relevant and context-specific HIV prevention and treatment interventions.

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