“We welcome this timely contribution, to support the Ministry of Health’s efforts in the implementation of its National Strategic Plan for Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction,” said Per Engebak, Regional Director of UNICEF East and Southern Africa.
The one million Euro contribution from the Spanish Government will be used to strengthen the capacity of the health system to deliver proven and effective interventions for maternal, newborn and child mortality reduction. Amongst other essential interventions these funds will support policy development, health personnel training, provision of essential drugs, and strengthening health information systems.
Javier Vallaure, Ambassador of Spain in Angola, expressed his satisfaction with the new era of cooperation between the Government of Spain, the Government of Angola and UNICEF. “Spain has always had a very close relationship with UNICEF. I think this donation, assisting the miraculous event of birth, will improve Angolan children’s survival and development. Mothers will be healthier and more able to assist their children in the first years of life. In this way, children will really become the foundation of this nation,” Vallaure said.
According to UNICEF, Angola has one of the highest maternal, neonatal and child mortality rates in the world. Every year, 12,500 women die from pregnancy and child birth related complications, 40,000 newborn children die within in one month after birth, and nearly 200,000 children die before celebrating their 5th birthday. Most children die from preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition.
The main constraint to reducing maternal and child mortality is in overcoming the devastation of the health system that occurred over 27 years of war. The health system faces many challenges such as low institutional and human resource capacities, with services based largely in urban areas. Health posts are grossly under-utilized due to a lack of capacity in management of common newborn and childhood illnesses. Currently only 30-40 per cent of the population has access to essential health services.
In Kilamba Kiaxi municipality, some 20 minutes away from the city center of Luanda, the hospital is so crowded that three-four children share one bed in the emergency room. The hospital conducts 40-60 child births every day, but there are no beds to keep the mothers and newborns overnight. “A lot of sick newborn children delivered at home come here, and the case fatality rate is very high among them. The main causes of admission are pre-term births and infections. Parents usually come very late with the sick children, too late to be saved sometimes” said the doctor working in the hospital.
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
José Luís Mendonça, UNICEF Information Officer: Tel + 912 653013; email@example.com