Health officials of the African nation Angola have announced their plans is mount a massive campaign to help protect more than 3.5 million children, under 5-years of age from measles, polio and malaria.
The representatives of the WHO, U.N. children's agency UNICEF along with the health ministry of Angola, had announced in Luanda their aim to reduce Angola's infant mortality rate that is considered as one of the world's highest, by at least half in numbers by 2008.
Akil Iyer, a senior program officer for UNICEF in Luanda said, 'This is without a doubt the biggest health campaign of its kind ever in Angola", and it is an integrated campaign.'
Angola's health system had been ravaged over the years by a 27-year civil war that has left millions, especially children, defenceless to a host of deadly and crippling diseases. Reports have stated that almost one-quarter of all Angolan children die before the age of five. This campaign that is finally being launched, has come in the midst of the growing criticism on the Angolan government, which has been accused of reacting slowly to a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 2,000 people. Reports have indicated that many of the deaths had occurred in slums that lacked basic sanitation.
After the end of the conflict in 2002 there began an oil-financed reconstruction boom in Angola and her leaders are now stating that they are devoted for the improvement of the basic health care, developing, and implementing other social programs. But it is widely feared that when health workers roll out the vaccination and anti-malaria campaign throughout the country next week, the effects of war would be a definite hindrance hampering the smooth flow.
Iyer further explained that the supplies would be pre-positioned ahead of the drive to handle with poor roads and other logistical problems. It is reported that almost about 800,000 mosquito nets will be distributed in the seven provinces that are most affected by malaria. ,br>