1. Feature article - Program in Angola
Since 2004, the Comité d'Aide Médicale has been working in the Uige province of Angola, a region devastated by 27 years of civil war, which faces tremendous development challenges. CAM's programs in this region have focused on supporting communities to rebuild health and sanitation infrastructure and improve access to basic health services. Currently CAM is working on the following two programs :
«Installing and renovating a water supply system, and promoting hygiene and sanitation in 10 rural villages in the Uige Province, Angola.»
(This program consists of two parts.)
A / Water Supply System
The Comité d'Aide Médicale is in the process of carrying out an ambitious project, constructing a water supply system to provide drinking water to 4 villages within the Uige and Quitexe municipalities, who currently get their water from a river whose water is of poor quality. Financed by the European Union and AFD (Agence Française de Développement) this project will be carried out entirely in partnership with the Provincial Director of Water and Energy, and all the representatives of the different village benefi ciaries. In May 2006, the engineers of quassistance, our technical partner, had identifi ed the source of what would become the water catchment area, from which gravity-driven water would fl ow several kilometers down to the villages. This gravity-driven system means that we would not need to resort to using pumps, which would reduce costs, operating diffi culties, and overall maintenance.
Water Committees were formed in each village during an initial phase of preparation, followed by a construction phase which began in August 2008. This phase included the participation of villagers who helped dig the trenches in which PVC pipes will later be laid. Next, the villagers will be trained in September, by engineers from Aqua Assistance, on how to correctly install canals in the trenches by themselves. A local business was also contracted to provide pipes, which come from Luanda, and to construct reservoirs and small dams. A public water point will be constructed in each of the villages, and serve as a water distribution point to the population, which will be located less then 200 meters away from their homes. This system is anticipated to be operational in November 2008.
B/ Raising Awareness
This section of the program, which compliments the water supply system, is carried out in partnership with a local Angolan NGO, Secut Bagos, who has worked in the Uige Province for 10 years and who is well known for their social and community mobilization skills (prevention, information, education), especially with the youth. The activities connected to this section of the program are carried out in the ten villages that belong to the municipalities of Uige and Quitexe. Between the months of May and July 2008, 36 awareness sessions, which focused on basic hygiene and sanitation, were carried out in Uige. 2349 adults, and 4787 children attended these sessions, whose principal themes focused on the following subjects : individual and group hygiene, water treatment, and disease prevention. Several tools were used to optimize the impact of these awareness messages on the benefi ciaries, and these included songs, puppet theatres, and interpersonal messages.
«Promoting basic hygiene and sanitation in the municipalities of Uige and Quitexe, as well as conducting an action-research to strengthen the capacity for local Angolans to manage their medical waste.»
This program, fi nanced by the SCAC (Service de Coopération et d'Action Culturelle de L'Ambassade de France), in partnership with the Provincial Department of Health and the Provincial Department of Water and Energy for Uige, consists of 5 different activities :
- Constructing latrines for schools in three villages in the municipalities of Uige and Quitexe
- Constructing community wash-houses in three villages in the municipalities of Uige and Quitexe
- Lightly renovating two health structures, one in Uige and the other in Quitexe
- Raising awareness on sanitation education
- Conducting an action-research to put in place a prototype medical waste incinerator in the Health Center of Quitexe. The goal of this action-research is to identify and test locally available material (clay, sand, rice bran etc...), which will be necessary to build this incinerator.
The Comité d'Aide Médicale has already carried out a similar pilot program for a medical waste incinerator in Mali between 2004-2008, which was very successful and well received by our local partners.
Through this new program, which was launched in Angola in August 2008, the Comité d'Aide Médicale was able to successfully capitalize and transfer, from one African country to another, the 'savoir-faire' regarding a major public health issue. CAM will of course adapt the current program to fit the local context, including aspects relating to national hospital hygiene policies in Angola.