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 2.0 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 (44 percent of all females are < 15) and adolescent pregnancy rates among the top 10 in the world(every year, 12 percent of adolescents 12-19 become pregnant), Pathfinder places a high priority on services that address the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and young people. Through stabilizing and improving the health systems of Angola, Pathfinder hopes to lay a solid foundation for the long-term reconstruction activities in the country.
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, Strengthening Systems
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.
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This report contains key insights from research and recommendations to inform adolescent sexual and reproductive health advocacy, including strategic approaches, messages, and talking points.
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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.
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.