LUBANGO, Angola, 22 June 2010 -- In the newly opened red brick Lubango health clinic, a long line of Angolans wait their turn to see one of the two Cuban doctors working here. The doctors were assigned to provide health care to some 30,000 people in the southern province of Huila.
During Angola's three decades of war, many children had no access to education. Now, about one-third of the adult population is illiterate. The country's health system was also severely affected. "More than 30 years of war destroyed 70 per cent of the public network," said Minister of Health José Vieira Dias Van-Dúnem.
Training health workers has been part of a massive revitalization of Angola's health system.
UNICEF has assisted in the revitalization process by delivering interventions to prevent diseases among mothers and children. The package of services, offered free to all women and children, includes ante-natal care, mosquito nets to avoid malaria, vaccinations for newborn babies and better management of childhood illness such as malnutrition, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection.
In a country where more than half of the population lives under the international poverty line and child and maternal mortality rates are among the world's highest, the UNICEF package of services has become a crucial remedy.