U.S. Ambassador visits Huambo Province

U.S. Ambassador, Helen La Lime, visited Huambo Province February 25 – 28 to meet with Angolan provincial officials, assess the impact of and the transition plans for the Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) portfolios, and evaluate opportunities for U.S. government engagement in the agriculture sector.

The Huambo Vice Governor for the Social Political Sector, Guilherme Tuluca, announced that thanks in large part to U.S. government training and technical assistance, malaria was no longer the leading cause of death in the province in 2014. Huambo Province is the first province in Angola to achieve this success. The Provincial Health Director, Dr. Frederico Juliana, informed the Ambassador that vehicle accidents and respiratory disease are now the major killers in Huambo. According to the latest provincial data, 2010, malaria was responsible for 60% of total deaths in Huambo in 2010. In 2014, malaria accounted for only 15% of total deaths. Malaria related deaths decreased by 98% from 2010 to 2014, and the total number of malaria cases decreased by 93% in the same period. Additionally, U.S. support assisted the Government of Angola’s HIV/AIDS program in Huambo to increase the number of HIV positive individuals on anti-retroviral treatment (ART). U.S. support also reduced the percentage of HIV-related child mortality from 44.8% in 2013 to 20.4% in 2014.

Ambassador La Lime visited Angola’s first insectary laboratory, established in 2013 with funding from PMI, which is dedicated to entomological research on resistance to commonly used insecticides found in indoor residual spraying (IRS) and long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs). Located on the grounds of the Huambo Sanatorio Hospital, the laboratory enables the Ministry of Health to adapt its insecticide resistance management platforms to train staff on insecticide resistant drugs and to assist other provinces in their research capacity, mainly for IRS and LLINs. The Ambassador also witnessed how the supply chain for PMI and the government of Angola’s malaria and HIV products are procured, stored, and distributed at the Huambo Medical Warehouse. The Ambassador toured the Mineira antenatal clinic, where she observed the clinical cascade of HIV/AIDS services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. This center was supported by PEPFAR. The Ambassador learned about the PEPFAR/USAID supported ‘patient assistant facilitator’ project which helps pregnant mothers to regularly take ART and to monitor their exposed babies for follow-up treatment and testing.

The Ambassador also met representatives from the provincial government, the university system, Mediateca, and a nearby cooperative to discuss agricultural developments. Embassy Luanda and USAID will facilitate dialogue with the private sector and with U.S.-based universities to accelerate plans to scale up agricultural development and pursue opportunities for partnership in Huambo.