Angola: Malnutrition on the increase as war resumes

International staff: 61

MSF has been present in Angola since 1988 working in a minimum of nine provinces at a time. It is one of MSF's biggest missions. Owing to the renewed conflict, malnutrition is widespread once again and MSF is focusing on providing nutritional assistance to resident and displaced populations in many provinces. Vaccination is also a priority because of endemic diseases such as measles and meningitis.

In Cubal, Benguela province, a nutritional centre is run out of the town's catholic hospital. MSF also provides support to the municipal feeding centre. Nutritional assistance is also provided in Caala, Huambo province, where MSF intervenes in the government hospital.

MSF was forced to evacuate from Cuito, Bié province at the end of 1998 because of the fighting. Between January and March 1999, a team was able to return where it carried out a surgical programme. However, in March security conditions were such that MSF was forced to reduce its team. MSF continues to run two nutritional centres in Chitembo and Camacupa.

In N'Dalatando in Kwanza Norte, MSF runs a long-term programme to combat trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). In Cubal, Benguela province, MSF phased out its technical assistance to the Catholic Hospital's tuberculosis centre. In July 1998, following the outbreak of a meningitis epidemic; MSF ran a mass anti-meningitis vaccination campaign in the towns of Caala, Ekunha and Huambo. In Luanda, MSF participated in a large-scale polio vaccination campaign. A cholera prevention programme was also carried out from March to May 1999.

In the capital, Luanda, MSF is phasing out its supervision of two health centres. However, in Luena in Moxico province, MSF runs a mother and child health care programme. Teams also run a primary health care programme in Bibala and Camacuio in Namibe province and another in Huila province. However, security has made it difficult for MSF to reach Huila in 1999. Insecurity in Malange has forced MSF teams to evacuate on several occasions.

Nutritional assistance is now a priority and although MSF was running three feeding centres in early 1999, the programme had to be suspended in April. MSF supported the provincial hospital in Zaire province until insecurity forced the teams out in December 1998. Support continues for a health unit in Mbanza Congo.