Angola to tackle social ills affecting children

Government’s social partners, in particular, have been urged to apply themselves fully to addressing problems such as child mortality. Joao Baptista Kussumua, Angola’s Social Welfare Minister, said it was imperative that serious attention was given to the issues of children, who are often vulnerable to various social ills. Kussumua was speaking on the occasion of the World Child’s Day, which was commemorated recently in Luanda. The occasion was attended by several children from the nine districts of the country’s capital. The minister said the public and private social entities who work in favour of children deserved government appreciation because they contributed to their affirmation. He highlighted the attention that must be given to orphaned children, whose parents died of HIV/AIDS, as well as praising the support of the President of the Republic, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, towards the normalisation of the situation. According to Kussumua, although the country has a low HIV infection rate in Southern African region, the number of orphaned children was still rising, thus jeopardising the normal development of the nation. In a related development, Angolan First Lady, Ana Paula dos Santos, has inaugurated a maternal/infant centre in Funda commune, Cacuaco district, Luanda, which will help reduce the number of births in homes and their risks. Estimated at US$600 000, the centre has a pre-delivery room with four beds, post-delivery room with five beds, a room for delivery, family planning and HIV/AIDS counselling, among other sections. At the occasion, Ana Paula dos Santos, chairperson of both Lwini Social Solidarity Fund and National Committee of Rural Woman, donated a small lorry to assist the sanitary services. The First Lady said that the facility marked a new era towards the development of the community, explaining that the centre comes as a response to the calls from local traditional midwives, women and authorities, for a greater attention to reproductive health. Meanwhile, Health Minister Sebastio Veloso has called on the Portuguese-speaking governments to protect their people, giving them access to medicines and products, thus complying with international requirements. Veloso made these considerations in Luanda at the opening of Eighth World Pharmaceutical Congress of the Portuguese-speaking Countries promoted by the Associations of Angola’s Pharmacy Professionals (Assofarma) and the Portuguese-speaking Countries Pharmaceuticals (AFPL). The minister stressed that if the participants followed up their actions, they would together keep up a good quality of acceptable medicines for human use, intervening in every circuit, from the formulation, production, regulation, control, and until the moment the medicines were being administered to patients. The chairperson of AFPL, Salim Tuma Habet, said that, besides language and cultural ties, the African Portuguese-speaking Countries Body (PALOP) needed to break up an important barrier and create linkages that unite them at other levels, mainly concerning medicines and pharmaceutical assistance. In another development, the Ambassador of Spain to Angola, Javier Vallaure, recently expressed satisfaction with the level of socio-economic development attained in the last period by southern Benguela province, which improves the population’s well-being. The diplomat, who was addressing journalists at Cubal district, some 170km from Benguela city, during a three-day to the region, said the Spanish government looked forward to Angola attaining high development levels. During his stay in Cubal, the diplomat learnt of the functioning of the diocesan hospital of Nossa Senhora da Paz and of the secondary school of “Irmas Teresianas”, institutions that counted on the aid of the Kingdom of Spain. The school has a library that is equipped with 21 computers, which were recently donated by the Spanish non-governmental organisation “Behar Bidasom”, to enable students to acquire computing knowledge.

June 2006
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