Monday, January 18, 2010

Rural Healthcare

Recent statistics and surveys show that almost 40 - 50% of Angolans have no access to local healthcare.  In the many cases Angolans must travel many days, often on foot, to reach an organized healthcare facility.  This state of healthcare and the amount of travel has been documented by the CEML Hospital, often receiving patients from other far off Angolan provinces who are in need of specialized healthcare or complicated surgical operations.

In some of most remote areas of Angola, local churches have taken the initiative to start healthcare stations to meet the immediate and basic healthcare needs of surrounding people.  In one instance, the national, evangelical church in Mavinga started a small clinic/hospital as pictured at the left.   The Portuguese previously called this part of Angola "the end of the world"; from Luanda, the nations capital, it is located over 1200km away and over 800km from the CEML's base in Lubango.

The majority of the healthcare workers in these clinics have received basic training from the CEML medical staff.  Additionally, CEML doctors regularly travel to these outposts via Mission Aviation Fellowship aircraft in order to conduct more intense medical and eye examinations.  While major surgery cannot be performed in these conditions and locations, CEML's opthamologist is able to perform cataract surgeries with his mobile surgery unit.

Though meeting a great need of basic healthcare in these remote areas, realistically these small clinics will never be able to meet the mounting medical needs of the people.  It is encouraging to see the investment that the Angolan Government is making in these areas to rebuild the municipal hospital which were either destoyed or abandoned during the lengthy civil war.

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