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Angolan medical doctors on strike

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By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Angolan medical doctors have gone on strike to demand better work conditions and the hiring of all their unemployed colleagues.

The work boycott that started on Monday follows a notice served to the government last August.

The head of the doctors’ union, Mr Adriano Manuel, Tuesday said the strike was 98 per cent successful.

The government said the work boycott was illegal, but made no immediate offers to the medics.

The Angola government in January acknowledged that there were more than 1,500 unemployed medical doctors in the country.

Angola currently boasts of just over 6,400 medical doctors for its about 28 million population.

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the southern African country should have at least 28,000 medical doctors in a full time employment.

Approximately one in five children in Angola still die before the age of five from malaria, while life expectancy stands at 52 years.

While the political will for reform exists, current health facilities were not only inadequate, but also inaccessible to the majority of the population.

The situation has forced some Angolans to seek treatment abroad while others prefer the more expensive private facilities.

Many large private firms, particularly oil companies, have their own clinics and health systems to provide services to their employees.

The Angolan health sector, like many others, was affected during the devastating civil war that raged on for 27 years.

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