Angola Health Insurance
The Republic of Angola is located in South West Africa. Angola shares land borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo to the north, Zambia to the east and Namibia to the south. The Atlantic Ocean forms the country’s western coastline. Angola has a population of approximately 18.5 million people within a total land area of 1,246,700 square kilometers. Angola enjoys a tropical climate with alternating wet and dry seasons. The wet season is hot and humid and is typically from October to May. The dry season, June to September, is cool and pleasant. Centuries of Portuguese rule ended in 1975 when Angola achieved independence. A devastating 27 year civil war followed which had a detrimental affect on living standards. Post-war Angola has seen strong economic development and now boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world, largely due to its vast mineral and petroleum reserves. Portuguese remains the official language of Angola and is widely spoken by all Angolans. The two largest ethnic groups, Ovimbundu and Ambundu, each have their own language.
The civil war had a negative impact on a variety of social factors, specifically the development of national infrastructure, health and education. Inadequate funding and development of the healthcare system has resulted in Angola having a very high infant mortality rate – 176 deaths per 1,000 live births. Widespread prevalence of malaria, malnutrition, pneumonia, and meningitis have all contributed to this large number of infant deaths. Health facilities are generally poor and limited in the treatments that they are capable of providing. Facilities in the capital Luanda, particularly private clinics, are of a higher quality although they still fall short of international standards.
Angolans living in remote and rural parts of the country have no access to medical care and are required to travel long distances to medical centers. Despite bilateral agreements with Cuba that have allowed up to 800 Cuban medical professionals to work there, Angola still suffers from chronic shortages in facilities, personnel, medicines and pharmaceuticals. Angola’s government has acknowledged that improving the country’s health services are one of its greatest challenges and that investment in health is also dependent on investment in basic infrastructure.
The Angolan Ministry of Health (MINSA) is responsible for the provision of health services throughout the country. The recently published District Health Strategy offers a new approach to assist the poorest members of the population and to provide increased accessibility to general health care. Health service delivery is divided into three levels of care: primary, secondary and tertiary with the levels of care corresponding to the three levels of government - district, provincial and national. Funding of primary care facilities has increased significantly in recent years resulting in improved access to basic health services. Angola is, in contrast to many of its neighbors, less dependent on international donor funding with approximately 80 percent of total health expenditure provided by the public sector. The total health expenditure as a percentage of GDP has remained low and is approximately 3 per cent per annum. Use of private health facilities is highest in Luanda and other cities with large populations. Increasing numbers of companies based in the larger population centers are using private health facilities in Angola through private health insurance providers. Health services are also available at a number of private medical facilities such as Climed.
In general, private medical facilities and clinics are generally of a better standard in comparison to their public counterparts. Expatriates and short term visitors who require medical treatment are advised to use private medical facilities wherever possible. Patients will be asked to pay in cash at the time of treatment, regardless of whether or not they hold Angola medical insurance. A lack of medical specialists and equipment means that patients who require serious medical attention will need medical evacuation to South Africa which has up-to-date modern facilities. Expatriates and short term visitors to Angola are strongly advised to purchase international Angola health insurance which provides cover in the event of a medical evacuation to South Africa and subsequent return to their home country.
Revenues from the sale of oil and minerals have been largely responsible for Angola’s impressive post war economic growth. Increasing levels of financial support have been diverted towards the health sector and some successes have been noted. Angola is effectively tackling shortages in trained medical personnel by increasing the number of Universities and other facilities that provide medical training. A program that aims to contact and entice Angolan doctors working outside the country to return has also been initiated. The government has also identified a basic lack of education, malnutrition, malaria, cholera and food vulnerability as the main causes of Angola’s high infant mortality rate and considerable funding has now been allocated to various programs designed to tackle this major problem. UNICEF have also provided financial assistance and medical volunteers who have increased access to pre-natal care, distributed sterilized mosquito nets and provided post-natal vaccinations.
Expatriates and first time visitors to Angola and the region are advised to seek medical advice before traveling. Receiving the Routine vaccination along with vaccinations for Hepatitis, Typhoid, Polio, Yellow Fever and Rabies are all strongly recommended. Malaria is widespread and travelers should exercise caution at all times by using anti-insect repellant, wearing trousers and long sleeve shirts and by using bed nets whenever possible. Polio, in particular, is endemic and there is a high risk of contracting the disease in Angola. Receiving specific medical advice regarding Polio is advised and polio boosters are recommended if it has been 10 years or more since the initial vaccination. Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required on arrival in Angola. Various other viruses and diseases have been known to suddenly affect the country. In 2005, an outbreak of Marburg virus killed 132 people. Unexploded ordnance remaining after the civil war affects over 200 square kilometers of land or approximately one fifth of the population. Suspect areas are usually marked with red tape and signposted and visitors are urged to exercise caution if they are required to travel to such an area.
Crime is a serious problem throughout Angola. Petty street crime and crimes of opportunity such as pick pocketing and purse snatching are common in Luanda at all times of day and night. Sporadic fighting can sometimes break out in the areas of Cabinda and the provinces of Lunda North and Lunda South. Extreme caution is urged if travel to either of these areas is necessary. Non-nationals are advised to carry their passport and valid visa with them at all times. Emergency services including police, ambulance and fire brigade can be contacted by dialing 113.
Medical insurance in Angola is widely accessible from a number of sources, customized for any requirement.
Purchasing health insurance before traveling to Angola is strongly recommended. To ensure you are adequately protected from high healthcare, medical treatment and air evacuation costs, invest in an international health insurance plan. For more information about the products and services Globalsurance can offer, or to receive a free international health insurance quote, please contact one of our dedicated advisers today.