The Bishop of Angola – The Rt. Revd. Andre Soares’ recent visit to the UK in early July 2016 and his address to the MANNA AGM has shed light on the huge difficulties facing many Angolans that have worsened over the last year. Since the fall of petrol prices, Angola has fallen into a deep financial and health crisis. The Angolan Kwanza lost more than 35 percent of its value compared to the dollar in just one year and this crisis threatens the impoverished country’s already fragile stability. In terms of health, Angola ranks worst in the world in terms of infant death rate, with 167 deaths for every 1,000 births, according to the United Nations.
With crisis, rubbish is piling up everywhere in Angola’s sprawling capital Luanda, while yellow fever ravages the country – killing an estimated 250 people since December – residents now fear that these unsanitary conditions could further spread disease. Since mid-2015, mountains of rubbish have piled up across the city, home to some 6.5 million residents. With the city teetering on the verge of a health catastrophe. Meanwhile, Angola’s government has appointed a new governor in Luanda province, General Higino Carneiro, to oversee the process of cleaning up the city’s streets. One of his first moves was to announce the creation of an ‘urban command post’ to fight the trash crisis. He also warned that if the situation worsens, he may be forced to declare a ‘sanitary catastrophe’ in the city. WHO has taken urgent action to contain this outbreak, working with the Angolan Ministry of Health and partners to vaccinate people in the affected provinces.
As of 24 March 2016, WHO and partners have vaccinated 5.7 million people in Luanda against yellow fever using vaccines from the International Coordination Group emergency stockpile. Whilst concerted efforts are being made to stop the outbreak, there is a global vaccine shortage, with the emergency stockpile completely depleted. An additional 1.4 million doses are needed to vaccinate the population at risk in Luanda province alone.
In October 2016, the Anglican church in Angola shall have a conference to discuss the role the churches can play in the fight of malaria and sanitary issues led by the Christian’s Council of Churches of Angola. With 57,000 adults members, more than 60 priests, 17 deacons & several catechists leading 54 parishes, 128 congregations and 12 primary schools, the church’s role is vital to bring about change within this current crisis. MANNA’s and ALMA’s support of the Diocese of Angola, enabling it to function and grow is also key.