Photo by Bridgit Adamou

In 2003, just after Angola’s three-decade civil war, and in the midst of the resulting health crisis, Pathfinder began our work. One of our goals: to rebuild Angola’s reproductive health and family planning infrastructure.

Photo by Bridgit Adamou

Since that time, we have worked with our in-country partners, including the Angolan Ministry of Health, to stabilize and improve the health status of some of the most underserved Angolans.

Photo by Bridgit Adamou

Women and girls are in dire need of services. Angola has the 2nd lowest CPR, and one of the highest maternal mortality rates, in the world. And, 12% of adolescents, ages 12-19, become pregnant every year. Pathfinder is working to reach them.

Photo by Pathfinder Angola

Through programs that expand access to family planning and maternal care, we are making progress. By integrating services, like malaria prevention, into reproductive health care, we are addressing the underlying factors that cost mothers their lives.

Pathfinder International works in Angola on a range of sexual and reproductive health issues—from family planning to malaria prevention—with a special focus on serving the needs of women and youth.

Why Pathfinder Works in Angola

Having endured three decades of civil war, Angola is struggling to restore its public health infrastructure and meet the health care needs of millions of refugees and internally displaced people. The war, which ended in 2002, left many Angolans in a situation of extreme poverty and hunger, with virtually no access to health care (65 percent of the country's health units were destroyed) or even basic sanitation. Despite strong efforts to improve public services, Angola has one of the lowest educational enrollment rates in Africa, is still clearing land afflicted with millions of undetected mines, and is experiencing a growing prevalence of HIV and AIDS. Currently, the HIV infection rate is 2.1 percent.

In the backdrop of these urgent and immediate crises, Pathfinder began work in Angola in 2003 to rebuild the country's reproductive health and family planning infrastructure, and address health care priorities such as the country's devastatingly high infant (top 5 in the world) and maternal mortality rates. With a large percentage of the Angolan population made up of youth (48 percent of the population is under 15) and adolescent pregnancy rates among the top 10 in the world (14 percent of all births are by women ages 15-19), Pathfinder places a high priority on services that address the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and young people.

Angola, a major oil exporter, saw an incredible increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate (from 6% to 18%) since 2001.

evidence for decision-making

A key aspect of Pathfinder's approach to systems' strengthening is collecting evidence that enables public, private, and community partners to make informed health-related decisions. In Angola, examples of the kinds of evidence we collect range from "number of pregnant women attending pre-natal care services, by new and returning visits" and "number of pregnant women receiving Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) for malaria" to "the number of national level forums/meetings at which situational analyses are presented." Some illustrative data from Pathfinder's work in Angola suggests that over the course of two years:

  • 93,862 doses of injectable contraceptives were distributed
  • 14,468 pregnant women received HIV counseling and testing
  • 50,131 community members attending community health talks


Building capacity is a critical component to strengthening health systems in Angola. Pathfinder works directly with the Angolan government to identify and address the country’s most urgent needs by strengthening key elements of the health system such as the country-wide supply chain management system for contraceptive supplies, and designing and developing a national family planning strategy.

Along the way, we mentor and train health providers and public officials so that they develop the skills necessary to maintain the improved systems. For many providers and clinicians, training is a not a regular occurrence, which leads to poor quality service delivery. The same applies to people who run other parts of the health system (e.g. managers, logisticians, supervisors). Pathfinder works to change this paradigm by making training and mentoring a priority. Doing so builds sustained capacity and strengthens the foundation of Angolan health systems.


Your gift of $25 or $50 can help ensure that Angolans receive quality reproductive health care, protecting them from devastatingly high infant and maternal mortality rates as well as high rates of HIV.

Our Projects

Eye Kutoloka thumbnail

Eye Kutoloka: NGOs Engaged in Health

Systems Strengthening Maternal & Newborn Health HIV & AIDS

A five-year effort to improve NGO capacity in Angola with a special focus on improving health services, education, and water within eight provinces, working directly with local NGOs on issues of governance, transparency, and democracy.

Related Publications

May 2010

Advancing Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Developing Countries

This report contains key insights from research and recommendations to inform adolescent sexual and reproductive health advocacy, including strategic approaches, messages, and talking points.

January 2010

Comprehensive Safe Abortion Programming: The Pathfinder International Approach

This paper presents Pathfinder's comprehensive approach to safe abortion programming including provider training, client friendly counseling, addressing the needs of vulnerable populations including youth, community mobilization, and advocacy.

Related News

Malária pode ser erradicada do país dentro de dez anos (Portuguese)

Nilton Saraiva explicou que todo o país é endémico, embora as regiões do norte sejam as mais vulneráveis. "A Pathfinder International é um parceiro que tem levado a assistência e os nossos serviços às comunidades, sobretudo às mulheres grávidas. É dos parceiros mais importantes que temos", disse.

Esso Invests USD 24 million to Fight Malaria

Since 2003, Esso Exploration Angola, the oil company, has invested about 24 million USD in programs that fight against malaria.
Speaking to the press, Miguel Cordeiro said the amount has been invested in distribution of mosquito nets, training of health personnel and awareness campaigns against the disease. He said that the combat against malaria in pregnant women has been highlighted because it constitutes a major cause of death in this population group.
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