Health Baseline Survey Angola

By Sister Laurinda Bundo

Conducting a baseline survey of health can be a painstaking exercise over many weeks. Our recent survey on the outskirts of Huambo, Angola generated great interest among the people. Huambo is Angola's second largest city. It was once very beautiful but suffered terrible damage from bombing during the war.

The people were delighted to find that strangers were interested in their health problems. They were eager to discuss the reality. Everyone had a story to tell. We were very hopeful that our efforts to raise awareness about the causes of disease would be fruitful.

We asked the communities to select people who would be able to work with us in bringing forward this project. Now, nine volunteer health workers have been selected and given basic training, and we are ready to tackle the next phase of the work.

Malaria is the disease that headed the people's list. It affects every family. Some had lost small children to the disease. Due to the long years of war in Angola, many had been deprived of education. Health education was almost non-existent. Now that we have peace once again, people are eager to rebuild the country and to rebuild every aspect of their lives.

We begin our campaign in the schools at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We hope to mobilize as many young people as possible in the campaign to rid the neighbourhoods of places where mosquitoes can breed. Our dream is to make it possible for people to get access at low cost to insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets, but we have to move at the pace the people can manage.

We don't believe in hand-outs, but we do believe in subsidising the cost once we are assured that the people are committed and interested in improving their own health status. It takes time to make a difference.