Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Angola Celebrating Polio Reduction

After being plagued by a re-emergence of the polio virus in 2005, Angola has not experienced any new cases of the crippling disease for a full year - moving the world a step closer to the final goal of global eradication, United Nations agencies recently reported. 
Laboratory results have confirmed that the last case of the wild poliovirus was a 14 month old child from Uige Province in the African country's north-west in July 2011, following years of concerted efforts by the Government and its partners to halt the outbreak, which had spread to neighboring countries, according to a joint press release from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Angola.
"This success is the result of the improvement in the quality of polio campaigns round after round," said the acting WHO Representative in Angola, Jean-Marie Yameogo, who also credited the "high commitment" of Government officials at all levels and the engagement of civil society.
Other factors included improved surveillance of the disease, improved routine immunization and the coordination of efforts in neighbouring countries, along with greater access of populations to safe water and sanitation, according to the joint release.
Primarily funded by the Government, the country's massive vaccination campaigns deployed thousands of health workers and volunteers door to door and at crossing points, main streets, markets and water points, reaching 95 per cent of children under the age of five.
The decline of new cases from 33 in 2010 to five in 2011, with none as yet in 2012, is significant, UNICEF's Representative for Angola, Koenrad Vanormelingen, noted, while also warning against complacency.
"These investments demonstrate the importance of building strong primary health care for all the country's children," he said. "We have a duty to protect and ensure that all children are born and developed in a healthy polio-free environment, which means we can not stop until every child is fully vaccinated." (United Nations News)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Luanda's Grand, New Airport Project

Under current construction, Luanda’s new international airport is designed to be one of Africa's biggest and rival Johannesburg airport, in South Africa, as a traffic distribution hub for the region.   The new airport is being constructed some 40 kilometres outside the Angolan capital, in Bom Jesus, in the Viana municipal area, will have runways capable of receiving what is currently the largest passenger aircraft in the world, the Airbus A380.
“The size of the project, which is obvious from the length and layout of the runways, was decided in order to turn the airport into a hub that is capable of taking traffic away from Johannesburg airport destined for countries in Central and East Africa that use it for that purpose,” according to the Africa Monitor news service.

" The key idea,” it added, is that a big airport in Angola, “with a size capable of making it the second-largest facility of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa,” will be heavily used as a transit point for passengers traveling on to countries such as the democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya and even Tanzania. 
The new airport, which has been under construction since 2008, covers an area of almost 10,000 hectares and will have two double runways capable of landing the Airbus A380, 12 departure tunnels as well as restaurants, offices, a hotel nearby and a rail link to the capital city and, possibly, with the neighboring province of Malanje.  The new terminal building will have an area of 160,000 square meters (1.8 million square feet) to enable a capacity of up to 15 million passengers per year.   The area of the cargo terminal building will be 6,200 square meters, capable of handling of 35,000 tones of cargo per year.
Construction of the new airport is in the hands of a consortium of Chinese companies and Brazilian company Odebrecht and the first phase of the new airport may be concluded in 2012. (Africa Monitor)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Luanda's Novel Community Gyms

The redevelopment of Luanda has produced gyms and other spaces to provide quality physical education and allow the clients to keep fit and stay healthy.   But many of these facilities are economically out-of-reach to many of the urban dwellers.   Today, in response to that need, there are outdoor gyms in several community public spaces for all municipalities, an initiative of the Provincial Government of Luanda.   Under this program, no one has to pay and the more experienced to serve as physical education teachers. Creating community gyms is a program of the national government and is being implemented at national through provincial governments.  In Luanda there are already gyms in Ingombota, Samba, Sambizanga, Rangel, Kilamba Kiaxi, Viana and Cacuaco. 
Around 17:00 hours, many community gyms begin to get crowded with people. Children, youth, adults and seniors come to do their physical exercises. At the Independence Square in central Luanda, there are hundreds of people running or moving fast; men and women who for reasons of health or aesthetic, are dedicated to the sport. 
Those who live nearby are the gyms often stay until after 21:00 hours such as in the areas of Samba, Cape Island, New Marginal and the Independence Square where the attendees perform more practice physical exercises. The community areas are well lit and attended with police officers nearby to ensure all safety and tranquility.  
Luanda resident Paula Costa, 34, trains at the Independence Square, his favorite place from Monday to Friday.  "We do not complain, because the government has provided this for us.  Previously, it was difficult to find spaces for leisure. Today we have several sites for outdoor recreation, "he said.  Before community gyms " we felt like walking, exercising, and we could not afford a gym. Now we exercise in well equipped facilities without worrying about time and payment.  Now we just need to care for and preserve this public good, for our good, "acknowledged Paula Costa. (Portal de Angola, July 31st)