08 November 2018
Category : Opinion
The Support to the Local Development Project through the Social Support Fund (FAS IV), contributes to the municipalisation of social services in AngolaGrupo de ADECOS
Traditionally, Angola has been among the most unequal countries in the world when it comes to the distribution of income. Since 2002, with the end of the armed conflict, the country has achieved evident economic progress, although there is still room for improvement in its level of socioeconomic development: Angola is still ranked 150 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index (2016), infant mortality in children under 5 stands at 157 out of every 1,000, and only 36% of the population has access to drinking water.
Among the social indicators, those relating to the concentration of income and poverty stand out; for example, inequality in the distribution of income and its probable results on poverty have been the object of several studies in Angola, whose conclusions point out that the extreme inequality in the distribution of income provokes a socio-economic dynamic of its own that is associated with the persistence of absolute poverty.
In recent years, there has been a growing concern in the country about social and economic inequality, with the understanding that there is an urgent need to reverse this situation through social participation and control mechanisms, policies, programmes, projects and actions. All this indicates a movement of positive transformation and how the reduction of inequality is part of the political agenda.
In this regard, the National Policy of the Community and Health Development Agents (PNADECOS) was born in 2015 from the objective of the Government of Angola to provide social and health services to all families, especially in the most vulnerable and remote areas. In practice, it is an Angolan government programme that aims to stimulate community and health development throughout the country, responding to the commitment of the Angolan Executive to the expansion of socioeconomic services to all communities and the municipalisation of public services.
The social reality of the Angolan population today still shows that a large part of the population does not use and does not participate in the general development process of the country and contributes to it (use of public resources and services, lack of specialised frameworks, etc.).
Thus, the aforementioned PNADECOS is aimed at the most vulnerable Angolan population in a broad sense, taking into account their individual, family and social aspects It includes the role of Community Health Workers (Agentes de Desenvolvimento Communitario e de Saude, ADECOS). They are the promoters of development that facilitate interaction between communities and the public (municipal) or private institutions involved in communities. In addition, the ADECOS contribute to community access to public services and the search for solutions to their local problems.
PNADECOS is being implemented in its pilot phase by the Ministry of Health (MINSA) and the Ministry of Territory Administration and State Reform (MAT). In the case of the latter, through the Social Support Fund (FAS), in collaboration with the provincial governments and municipal administrations.
The Social Support Fund, in coordination with other anti-poverty programmes, has been contributing as a government agency for the last 25 years to reducing poverty in Angola and promoting sustainable development.
Led by the aforementioned ministries, and coordinated by the FAS, the ADECOS are chosen by the community, live in the community, and support the community in achieving its social, cultural and economic development goals, and thus contribute to empowering it.
The Local Development project is contributing to the pilot phase of the implementation of the PNADECOS. This project, financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP together with the FAS, seeks to contribute to the fight against poverty through the development of the municipalities of Angola, decentralising the provision of public services and initiatives that seek to contribute to improving the access of the Angolan population living in rural and isolated areas to basic social services. The project is therefore aligned with government commitments to improve access to basic social services for the most vulnerable population and the promotion of social cohesion.
The project and the ADECOS
The contribution of the project to PNADECOS has resulted firstly in support for the training, equipping and remuneration actions of the ADECOS themselves, so that they can carry out their tasks; and secondly in the technical assistance of FIIAPP to advise the General Directorate of the FAS in its national policy coordination work, especially in defining work flows and information processes among the various actors and interlocutors involved.
The ADECOS encourage families and homes to devote attention to the maintenance of maternal and child health (health of pregnant women, newborn children and children under five), hygiene and prevention of diseases. With their actions, they contribute to promoting rural, environmental and sociocultural development, as well as access to education. In short, they promote best practices in all aspects of local development in a holistic way.
The information and indicators produced through the role of ADECOS supervisors are important for municipal managers in decision-making and have a positive influence in determining the level of spending on socio-family welfare, for example, in the construction and equipping of health units or classrooms in schools or in the identification of household members who are on the fringes of society, without civil registers (identity documents or birth certificates). They also identify the conditions of the family home (type of houses, sanitary and hygiene conditions, sources of energy and water, means of transport and communication) and difficulties in accessing basic education and health services, among others.
The ADECOS in figures
Since 2015, 1,020 Community and Health Development Agents, distributed among 30 municipalities, have been trained, benefiting around 68,500 families (some 342,550 people). By the end of 2018, it is expected to reach another 50 municipalities, extending the coverage to 2,371 ADECOS accompanying some 135,100 families or (675,500 people).
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