CEML Hospital – Angola
Angola is a geographically beautiful nation in southern Africa that continues rebuilding from a forty-year civil war that ended in 2002. The life expectancy of Angolans is the very shortest of any nation on earth: just thirty-eight years. CEML Hospital is an important component of a comprehensive project to improve life in Angola via public health, agriculture, and medical care initiatives.
Dozens of healthcare professional learners have studied at CEML Hospital under the guidance of the largely Canadian, American and Angolan staff. Responsibilities allocated to students generally depend upon language skills and clinical experience. The staff is quite keen about teaching and allowing students to participate in procedures. Functionality in Portuguese or Spanish is useful in this setting, but not absolutely required.
Location & Community
Lubango is a city of some one million located in the southwestern part of Angola, in southern Africa. Once a wealth colonial city of Portugal, Lubango today is rebuilding after a prolonged civil war that ended in 2002. Most people make a living by farming or small commerce. The elevation is about 6,000 feet, and the climate is generally cool and dry in April through July, and slightly warmer and rainy October through December.
Become familiar with Angola’s culture, history and economy by reviewing the Wikipedia Angola Profile. Rich resources for Angola health information include the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation IHME Angola Country Profile and the World Health Organization Global Health Observatory Angola Data.
Travel to Lubango, Angola is via Windhoek, the capital city of the country of Namibia, located just south of Angola. If it is necessary to over night in Windhoek, accommodations are available near the airport. Namibia has attractive games parks and artesian shopping, and one may wish to stay a few additional days in Namibia for vacation. Travel to Lubango, Angola via Luanda, the capital city of Angola, is never recommended.
For current information, please visit the Angolan Embassy website appropriate for your country. The visa application process for United States citizens has become streamlined, and can now be completed entirely online. INMED Diploma students will be provided up-to-date details upon acceptance into the program.
Traveler’s Health & Safety
One should consult with their personal physician before traveling. All routine vaccinations must be up to date, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and tetanus. Typhoid vaccination is not generally recommended. Yellow fever vaccination is required. Travelers must be prepared to present documentation on their yellow fever vaccination upon arrival. Malaria is a risk in this region, especially in the rainy season, and visitors should consider prophylaxis with their physician prior to travel. Refer to the CDC travel website for the most up-to-date health information.
Most people coming for care are quite poor, and have little or no other access to medical care. Many suffer from chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and arthritic disorders. Malaria is very common, as is tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, parasitic infections, trauma, nutritional deficiencies, ophthalmologic disorders, birth complications, and multiple trauma from road traffic injuries.
Portuguese is the daily language of Angola. Portuguese and Spanish have many similarities, so fluency in Spanish provides significant advantage as well. Very few Angolans speak English. An interpreter is recommended for INMED learners who do not speak Portuguese or Spanish, and can potentially be arranged in advance for a nominal fee.
Medical Care Facilities
CEML Hospital is a newly constructed facility providing outpatient care, 24-hour urgent care, inpatient services, obstetrics, general surgery, and ophthalmology. Basic laboratory, radiology and ultrasound services are available. Currently the hospital has capacity for 40 inpatients, and is particularly well know for provision of surgical and ophthalmological care.
CEML Hospital is also closely associated with the Kalukembe Hospital and regularly sends a team to perform surgical procedures. Kalukembe Hospital is a 100-bed facility located 130 km northeast of Lubango and provides the full orange of healthcare services to an extremely impoverished rural community Kalukembe Hospital is also home to a well-established nursing school.
Healthcare Profession Staff
CEML Hospital is led by Steve Foster, a Canadian, Board-Certified general surgeon who also holds an appointment at McMaster University and is recipient of the 2010 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award. Steve Collins, a Canadian family physical also trained in ophthalmology, provides eye care. Annelise Olsen, an American Board-Certified general surgeon also complements the full-time staff. Audrey Henderson is an American registered nurse who provides special care for those with disabilities, including women who suffer from fistulas. These are assisted by a variety of healthcare professionals from Angola, Europe and North America.
Healthcare professional students and residents have regularly studied at the CEML Hospital since 2002. Experience is particularly rich with regards to surgical procedures, orthopedics, and pediatrics. The staff is quite keen about teaching and allowing learners to participate to their full abilities. Previous INMED Learners who served at this training site include these Graduates.
Note: Not all INMED learners post a blog regarding their international service-learning. Only completed blogs are listed:
Learner Lodging & Meals
Visitors are usually housed with one of the full-time staff families or in a nearby modern guesthouse. Meals are usually prepared by the family with whom the visitor is residing. Lunch is available at the hospital cafeteria on weekdays.
The hospital has wireless Internet access via a satellite-based broadband service. Internet via cell phone technology is also available.
INMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to donate to support CEML Hospital. While such efforts are not required, this will provide INMED personnel to become involved in every aspect of international medicine.
Lubango boasts several natural wonders that make for fascinating travel on weekends: waterfalls, ocean beaches, and rugged escarpments. Limited souvenir shopping is available.
Behavior & Dress
For clinical responsibilities everyone is expected to wear a white coat. Women may wear pants or skirts. Shoulders and midriff should be covered. Jeans and shorts are not appropriate on the job, but after hours are acceptable. Men generally wear slacks to work and long or short sleeve shirts. Neckties are rarely worn. Short pants for men are only appropriate when hiking. In the cool season a warm coat will be necessary.
What To Pack
Bring copies of any healthcare profession licenses, diplomas, or certifications. Be sure to pack a carry-on bag that has your essentials just in case your luggage becomes lost. Recent INMED students recommend bringing:
- Adapter kit for European-style electrical plugs
- Water bottle or canteen
- Flashlight and batteries
- A good camera
- Battery powered alarm clock
- Bug spray
- Laptop computer