• Cindy Cui

Maternal Healthcare and Infant Mortality in Angola

The Republic of Angola sits at the top ranking for one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the maternal mortality rate in Angola is approximately 81 deaths per 1000 live births and an infant mortality rate of 54 deaths per 1000 live births. These tragic occurrences are consequences of poor health management systems, systems incapable of protecting the health of pregnant women and young children on an ongoing basis. The malnutrition of both infants and mothers in Angola is also a large factor.

Angola has been trying to recover from a 40 year-long civil war that has destroyed this country. This war is the root of many problems in Angola, including the healthcare system’s incapability to manage the health of pregnant women and young children. The healthcare system is severely under-resourced, and with more than half of the population not being able to access quality health care. Many mothers die from health conditions that are not treated, such as malaria and hepatitis. Malaria is a disease which threatens the whole population, particularly mothers and children under the age of five. About 35% of all cases and 70% of all deaths reported annually (estimated at 35,000) occur in children under five years of age. There has been large destruction in hospitals over the past years, which calls for huge investments to be made, but because of the financial crisis, only 2% of public expenditure is allocated for health.

9% of all children are born with a low birth weight in Angola, which is the result of malnutrition and a lack of fresh water supply. The number of children dying before their fifth birthday is increasing, according to a UNICEF spokesman. A mother’s milk is the best source of nutrition, but the number of women breastfeeding children are declining, and babies become weak. 38 years of droughts and failed harvests are also reasons for the lack of food in Angola. Many families in Angola have to walk long distances to access fresh water.

There are many reasons why Angola sits at the top for one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world and it will take several years of strenuous work before this situation improves. Gathering financial strength, reinforcing the health services/medical professions, education for young mothers, and promoting health care in Angola are all steps which need to be taken in order to improve the system. Sadly, many countries around the world are facing similar problems to those of Angola. This is not a situation that can be solved individually , rather a situation that everyone can do a part in helping. By spreading awareness of this maternal health crisis, or getting involved in/donating to organizations such as UNICEF, (you can help support expectant mothers and young children who are suffering from a collapsed healthcare system in Angola.

Works Cited

Biomedical Central. https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-020-04664-w#:~:text=Also%2C%20Angola%20remains%20one%20of,in%20recent%20years%20%5B5%5D .

“Relief Web.” Relief Web, 1999, .https://reliefweb.int/report/angola/angola-infant-mortality-rates-among-worlds-highest .

“WHO.” WHO, 2005, www.who.int/hac/crises/ago .

“UNICEF.” UNICEF, 2021, www.unicef.org/appeals/angola .

“Fighting Severe Malnutrition in Southern Angola.” World Vision International, 2020, www.wvi.org/stories/southern-africa-hunger-emergency-response/fighting-severe-malnutrition-southern-angola .

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