Angola Medical Insurance
The Republic of Angola is a country in South West Africa, bordered by Namibia, Congo and Zambia. The country has a population of over 12.3 million people and an area of 1,246,700 square kilometers. Luanda is the capital city of the country with other large cities including Cabinda, Lunda, and Samalia. Angola was a Portuguese territory from the 16th century up until 1975 when the country declared independence. Thereafter, the country suffered a long period of civil war, from 1975 to 2002. While Angola is experiencing various post-war challenges, the country has a large oil and mineral industry, accounting for its rapid economic growth.
Angola has endured one of the longest civil wars in history, resulting in a damaged transportation infrastructure and a neglected health, education and welfare system. Government instability has limited the country's access to basic services such as education and health resources. Only one third of children went to school during the war which has resulted in a largely unskilled population. Approximately 240 square kilometres of Angola's land is still inhabited by landmines, putting one-fifth of the population at risk.
Due to limited human resources, the country continues to have difficulty expanding its economic productivity. With strong ties to Cuba, Angola has sent over 200 students to Cuba for medical training, as well as employing over 800 Cuban doctors to work in rural and urban Angola. The Angolan Government has also built more universities and training schools for a better health care system in the future. Health care services are still very limited and confined to the capital city of Luanda. Civilians, particularly in rural areas, have to travel far to receive basic levels of healthcare.
Lack of government funding and health care reforms has lead to Angola having the second highest mortality rate among children worldwide. The leading causes of death among children in Angola include malaria, malnutrition, pneumonia, and meningitis. HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases, particularly polio and tuberculosis, continue to threaten the sustainability of this developing nation.
However, Angola has made some significant progress in the last decade. Due to the large and increasing production of oil, Angola has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The Angolan Government has also put extensive investments into the country's health and education system and expects to be excluded from the list of the least developed countries in the world in the near future. On the other hand, HIV/AIDS prevalence has significantly increased since 2002. This is primarily due to the influx of cross-country travel, which was virtually impossible during the civil war.
In the last decade, the Angolan Government has implemented health care initiatives which have focused on reducing the high mortality rate among children. Prenatal care and controlling infections such as malaria, pneumonia and meningitis, are particularly emphasized. Other Government and international organisations have focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and the eradication of polio.
Health care resources are predominantly located in urban areas of the country with the best facilities located in the capital city of Luanda. Most doctors are Cuban and speak basic levels of English. Immediate cash payment is expected by hospitals and clinics in Angola prior to admission, however patients who require emergency stabilizing care are generally cared for immediately. Expats are required to organize reimbursement with their insurance provider following treatment. Private clinics and hospitals generally offer the highest standard of care within the country, providing emergency stabilization care and a range of medical services. Both public and private health care facilities in Angola have shortages of doctors and modern medical equipment.
Due to limited health resources and specially trained doctors, patients are usually evacuated to South Africa where state-of-the-art services can be received. Private hospitals offer high standards of care and are owned by large hospital organisations including Medi-Clinic, Life Healthcare, and International SOS. In the event of a medical emergency, air transportation to South Africa will be required. Expats are strongly recommended to obtain a health care plan that includes access to medical services in Angola as well as South Africa. A health care plan should also include cover for emergency medical evacuation services and repatriation to their home country.
Expats living in Angola can receive emergency stabilizing care and consultation services within Angola. The best clinics are located in Luanda and include the Clinic Medigroup, Clinic Clidopa, Clinic Espirito Santo, and Clinic Sagrada Esperanca. Expats with children can receive emergency care and a range of diagnostic and health care services at the Pediatric Hospital David Bernardino (HPDB), the largest children's hospital in Angola. Medical resources are extremely limited outside of Luanda and urban areas, therefore emergency evacuation will be required in the event of a medical emergency.
With Government and foreign assistance, Angola's health care system has generally improved since the cessation of civil war. Since 2002, the mortality rate among children under five has dropped from 250 to 195 per 1,000 live births in more recent years. UNICEF, an internationally funded organization, has implemented interventions for mothers and children in Angola's community. The program aims to reduce child morbidity by distributing packages including pre-natal care, mosquito nets for protection against malaria, vaccinations for newborn babies and education of childhood illness including malnutrition, diarrhea and acute respiratory infection.
The USAID (US Agency for International Development) largely supports the implementation of Governmental and non-governmental programs in Angola with the aim to reduce the impact of disease in the country. The PMI (President's Malaria Initiative), funded as part of the US Global Health Initiative program, was introduced in 2005 in order to combat the Malaria burden and reduce poverty throughout the African continent. USAID also promotes reproductive health and supports initiatives that address HIV/AIDS, polio and Tuberculosis.
The risk of polio in Angola is very high. Expats are highly recommended to ensure they are vaccinated for protection against polio; as well as Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Meningococcus, Rabies, Tetanus-diptheria, and Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR). A polio booster shot is recommended if it has been more than 10 years since your primary polio vaccination.
Landmines continue to threaten the population in Angola resulting in death and a large number of amputee victims. Areas which are considered unsafe are blocked off by red flags and tape along roads and rivers, particularly within fields and rural areas throughout the country. Expats should exercise extreme caution and avoid visiting any areas that may be inflicted by landmines. Rural areas have poor transportation routes, therefore air transportation will be required in the event of an accident.
Areas such as Cabinda and North and South Lunda Provinces present high risk of civil unrest and violent events. Expats should avoid street protests and public gatherings as they can turn violent.
Emergency protocols should be adopted by residents during the event of an accident, serious illness or criminal offense. To call the police department, ambulance service, or fire brigade within Angola dial 1-1-3.