The republic of Angola is situated on the west coast of Africa (SSA) and is considered to be one of the biggest countries on the continent with a surface of more than 12 million kilometers. The population of the state is 17 million people, of whom 44 percent are children at the age lower than fourteen years.
Angola has a limited health status data, and there was no Demographic and Health Survey during the last years. The maternal, child and reproductive indicators of Angola are one of the worst in SSA. However, the most dramatic is the mortality rate in this state. The maternal mortality is 1,400 deaths per 100,000 live births; the infant mortality is 150 per 1,000 live births. The average life expectancy is about 38 years for men and 42 years for women (Richards-Kortum, 2010). The main factor that influences the high mortality rate is malaria. According to the report of 2003, there were 38,000 deaths caused by malaria disease. Other infections such as measles, acute diarrhoeal diseases, neonatal tetanus and acute respiratory infections are responsible for 60 percent of child deaths despite the fact that all these infections can be easily prevented by the primary health care service and care at household level. Unfortunately, the household level is increasingly low, and it promotes the spreading of diseases and the increasing of death rate, especially among children. According to the Angola Malaria Indicator Survey of 2006, only 20 percent of children under the age of five years sleep under a mosquito net. A KAP survey shows that, in Luanda province, the researchers outlined the following reasons why women do not use contraceptives:
33 percent lack of knowledge;
32 percent disapproval from mother-in-law;
29 percent disapproval from husband;
26 percent personal reasons.
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However, low level of health service and high number of diseases are not the only factors that negatively impact the health state of Angola. Environmental problems still bring much damage to the health of the whole nation; only 40 percent of the population has an access to the improved drinking water while the other part of the population has to drink contaminated water. Semi-urban part of the population lives near mounds of rubbish, and, as a result, they drink stagnant dirty water. A quarter of the population is served by a sewage system (Richards-Kortum, 2010).
The Republic of Angola has harsh conditions of life, and the health system is on a very low level. Nevertheless, the low quality of the health system is not the only factor that influences the high mortality among the population of Angola. One can outline also such factors as poverty, ecological problems and low level of personal hygiene.
Angola Major Infectious Diseases
Angola is a state with an inferior level of health service, and even not serious diseases can cause dramatic consequences that lead to high mortality in the country. Among them, one can outline the following diseases that are widespread among the population of Angola:
- Hepatitis A.
The disease interferes with liver function. The main reasons of this disease are food or water contaminated with fecal matter. Victims experience fever, diarrhea and jaundice. 15 % of victims will have prolonged symptoms during six months.
- Typhoid fever.
It is a bacterial disease which spreads through contact with the contaminated food or water by fecal matter. The mortality rate is 20 percent.
The disease is transmitted to humans via the mosquitos bite. The infection attacks red cells and causes fewer, sweats and chills. The mortality rate is about two million people annually in sub-Saharan Africa.
This bacterial disease is usually transmitted by fleas or rats, but a person-to-person transmission is also possible. Nowadays plague occurs in the rural areas or small towns and villages. Plague progresses rapidly, and without the professional antibiotic treatment, the disease leads to pneumonic form with a mortality rate of 50 percent in all cases.
- Meningococcal meningitis.
The disease is transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets because of the prolonged crowded living conditions. Death occurs within two days in 10 percent of cases (Spinage, 2012).
The diseases introduced above do not represent the entire list of illnesses in Angola. They are only a few examples of the most serious and lethiferous diseases. The mortality rate caused by infections is high, though it can be prevented if the health care system has at least the basic medicine to cure these illnesses. In the majority of cases, death can be prevented if the victim receives the necessary vaccine in time, but, in fact, it happens very seldom (Spinage, 2012).
Angola is considered to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Life conditions are extremely low there, and it certainly reflects on the mortality rate in the country. In fact, despite the low quality of life, the housing and food is quite expensive. The prices are three or even four times higher than in the USA; for example, to buy a pizza one must pay forty dollars. The population of the country can be divided into two parts; one part is the upper class, which does not experience any difficulties of living in Angola, and the other part is the low class that is on the fringe of surviving. The correlation between these two classes is unequal; 85 percent of the population can be related to the low class. Hence, the poor quality of life for the majority of citizens results in low medical service and high mortality. Many people live in the streets or in the overcrowded houses. Such conditions became the reason for worsening of the criminal situation in the country. The foreigner shall never walk alone in the streets even at day time (Beck, 2012).
According to this fact, poverty is another factor that leads to the high mortality rate in the country. People do not have money to survive, buy food and pay for housing; thus, they cannot buy the necessary medicine to cure even the simplest illnesses which can lead to the sequel. Moreover, people have a low level of awareness; in fact, 37 percent of children do not go to school while the rest part finishes only 3-4 years of education due to the need to work in order to survive. The low level of education increases the possibilities of getting infected with different illnesses including sexually transmitted diseases. Angola is a state with a high rate of AIDS/HIV infected population. However, it could be reduced if people paid more attention to their personal hygiene and used preventive measures (Beck, 2012).
Angola has two main environmental problems; they are erosion and desertification. In fact, it means that one part of Angola suffers from constant tropical rains seasons while another one experiences desertification. In both cases, it has a negative effect on the economy of the country and wellbeing of the whole nation. Tropical rains increase the spreading of such diseases as malaria which leads to the high mortality among the population (Bruijn & Dijk, 2012).
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However, besides natural factors, there are also other ecological problems caused by human activity. In Angola, it is difficult to find clean water which one can drink safely and without worrying about possible infections. The majority of the population drinks water that contains enteroidea which could lead to the serious illnesses. This disease does not lead to death, but the consequences may be very dramatic, especially if one does not take antibiotics for curing. Food may contain typhoid bacteria, which can cause the typhoid fever. The sanitation in Angola is at the extremely low level, and it increases the chances to be infected by viruses. The majority of viruses do not necessarily lead to death, but the absence of necessary medicine and low awareness of a personal health state increases the mortal cases caused by diseases.
Low Level of Awareness
The rough economic situation creates difficult life conditions in which the priority goal is to live another day. In such situation, people care less about their personal health state, and they do all possible to earn money today to live tomorrow. However, the citizens of Angola neglect personal hygiene; and this fact also has a negative contribution into health state of the nation.
Angola is the state which has 200,000 people infected with AIDS. Every year, 11,000 people die because of this disease. Nevertheless, this figure can be much lower if people care more about their personal health. AIDS is a virus that is transmitted via sexual act and thus, victim is the one whom she/he should blame. In this case, such factors as ecology, poverty, low level of the economy and other issues do not affect mortality caused by AIDS (Bruijn & Dijk, 2012).
The main reasons of AIDS infection are low awareness or low interest in personal health condition. People do not obey the primary preventive measures to avoid the AIDS infection. Women do not use contraceptives because of their personal decisions or their husbands or relatives disapproval. As a result, Angola is the country with a high rate of mortality caused by AIDS.
The situation in Angola can be improved and its mortality rate decreased through improving peoples education and not the economic conditions solely. In fact, the main factors illustrated below indicate that in the majority of cases people are the only who can introduce changes and prevent the illnesses. Thus, the first step is to improve education of Angolas population. Special trainings can help to prevent getting infected with certain diseases and provide knowledge on what one should do if he/she has this disease. First of all, these trainings must be aimed at improving peoples awareness and declining cases of AIDS infection (Sheehan & Yong, 2010).
The second step to be taken is an improvement of the economic situation in the country. Unfortunately, the only way to raise living standards in Angola can be achieved at the high governmental level. The economy of Angola is oriented mainly on the diamond export, but, before the civil war, Angola was the leader in the agricultural sector of the region. Probably, if the government takes some actions to develop the agricultural sector, it would positively affect the general well-being of the whole state. The advancement in agriculture will reduce the nutrition by bad quality products and, as a result, improve the health state of people. In fact, the nutrition is one of the major factors that predetermine the health state of the nation. Thus, a healthy nation should receive only quality products and have an access to clean water.
Environmental factors also make their negative contribution to health state of Angola. Polluted air and contaminated water add to the rapid spreading of dangerous illnesses. Intestinal diseases do not necessarily lead to death, excluding some serious forms of the disease. Nevertheless, they can damage the overall state of health and cause more serious illnesses that can be deathful for humans. To reduce the negative impact of the environment on the health state of Angolas population, one should start a campaign against the environment pollution. This campaign should appeal to the reducing of pollution caused by factories and plants that are situated near the residential areas. The changing of manufacturing into a more eco-safe way will improve the health state of the nation and reduce the cases of respiratory diseases (Sheehan & Yong, 2010).
The last factor concerns the direct impact of health care in Angola on the nations health. The health system of Angola experiences hard times and is low-financed. Thus, the only way to improve the medical care in the state is to raise this issue at the governmental level. The authorities should pay more attention to the medical services in Angola. Some people simply do not receive necessary medicines that could save their lives because these medicines are not available or their quantity is not enough to cure everybody who needs help. Moreover, hospitals require modern equipment to diagnose the early stages of the disease and in this way promote its declining. Professional hospital workers are the essential part of a qualified medical service in the country. The issue of medical treatment should be introduced as the most urgent one in the present situation (Stead, Rorison, & Scafidi, 2013).
As a conclusion, it can be said that medical services in Angola do not provide the necessary treatment to its citizens. As a result, the country has extremely high rates of mortality. However, bad medical treatment is not the only factor that impacts the health state of the nation. One can outline many other aspects that have a direct influence on the health situation in the country. Among them are ecological problems, low conditions of life, poverty and many others. However, all these facts are not incorrigible and can be improved if the government takes some measures to reduce their impact on human health and the overall situation in the country. The majority of illnesses that Angolas population faces today can be cured at the early stages, but patients should ask for medical treatment and observe preventive measures. Unfortunately, the majority of people in Angola pay little attention to their personal hygiene and, as a result, have numerous diseases caused by their attitude to their personal health state (Stead, Rorison, & Scafidi, 2013).
According to this fact, the first step to solve this urgent issue is to raise the populations awareness. Government should take the situation under its strict control if it wants to have a healthy nation. The development and well-being of any country depends on its citizens, and if the population suffers from numerous diseases and does not receive the necessary medical treatment, it is difficult to expect the changes in the political, social and economic conditions of any country. Thus, the priority goal is to improve life conditions, provide educational programs concerning personal hygiene and raise the question concerning the ecological problem in the state. If these conditions are performed, the health situation in Angola will be probably improved, and the mortality rate will greatly decrease.