Week 2 in Angola
July 11th, 2015 by Jessie Standish
It has been a joy to work with Dr. Foster who seems to have an endless supply of patience in the face of an endless stream of sick patients. His sense of humor and ability to connect with patients is very impressive. I have also had the honor of working with Dr. Ana Neves, a pediatric cardiologist and incredible force for positive change at the Pediatric Hospital- Pionero Zeca.
If I had my wish for the public health system in Angola it would be to launch a widespread HIV awareness campaign in Angola like I saw when I was working in Cuba from 2006 to 2012. Cuba and Angola were both sheltered from high levels of HIV in part due to lack of transmission from foreigners during the 80s, 90s and 00s. Cuba has gone out of their way to publicize information about HIV prevention in the media, with public health campaigns, in hospitals, concerts, etc. Condoms are inexpensive and available in most stores. I have yet to see the same push in Angola although I have seen a few public service announcements on television. I have been told by nurses that condoms are readily available but I have not yet seen them on display in stores.
The hospitals in Angola must already combat malaria, tuberculosis, intense intestinal parasitism, schistosomiasis, typhoid fever and rheumatic fever which seem to take on a startling array of presentations. Adding HIV/AIDs to that mix will add so much more fuel to the fire of suffering. I dearly hope that Angola can keep their HIV infection rate at 4% of the adult population or less.