Deterioration of the medical and nutritional situation
9 November 2000
Beyond simply the violence, the resumption of the conflict at the end of 1998 has also had a serious impact on the medical and nutritional situation of the Angolan population. The large-scale population displacement has provoked a serious food crisis, affecting both residents and the displaced. In the cities and especially in camps for the displaced, precarious living conditions have resulted in particularly high mortality rates. Backing this up is the significant number of admissions to the health structures and emergency services where MSF teams work. MSF notes in particular a significant increase in the numbers of war-wounded and mine victims. The displaced say that there have been no functioning health structures in the Unita zones since the fighting restarted in 1998. In the absence of access to the populations and therefore international medical assistance and health data, it is impossible to document precisely the health situation in the Unita-held zones, but it is likely to be comparable to the alarming situation in government-controlled zones. These various things show the extent of the needs in Angola and how very far the situation is from having returned to 'normal'. The Angolan authorities display a complete lack of interest in the health of their population. Investment in the health system is insufficient, the drug and medical supplies are insignificant, and health personnel are paid little and infrequently and, as a result, are unmotivated.