Angola is a geographically beautiful nation in southern Africa presently 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. The Medical Center is an important component of a comprehensive project to improve life in Angola via public health, agriculture, and medical care initiatives.
Hundreds of healthcare professional students have studied at the Lubango Evangelical Medical Center under the guidance of the largely Canadian 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 essential in this setting.Location & Community
Lubango is a city of some 200,000 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 5,000 feet, and the climate is generally cool and dry in April through July, and slightly warmer and rainy October through December.Transportation
Travel to Lubango, Angola is usually via Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. This is the nation located just south of Angola. If it is necessary to over night in Windhoek, accommodations are available at the Otjari House - the SIM guesthouse in Windhoek. Namibia has wonderful games parks and artesian shopping, and one may wish to stay a few additional days in Namibia for holiday. Travel to Lubango, Angola, may also be via Luanda, the capital city of Angola. Planning an over night in Luanda is generally not recommended.Visa Requirement
For current information, please visit the Angolan Embassy website appropriate for your country. The recommended Angolan Consulate in the USA is located in Houston, with information available at http://angolaconsulate-tx.org. Application should be made for a "tourist visa" and not submitted until two months prior to planned departure.
A letter of invitation from the Lubango Evangelical Medical Center must be submitted as part of the visa application. To obtain this letter of invitation, the following information should be submitted to INMED:
Please check the CDC travel website for the most up-to-date health information: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx, and consult with your physician before traveling. All routine vaccinations must be up to date, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus. Typhoid vaccination is not generally recommended. Malaria is a risk in this region, especially in the rainy season, and visitors should consider prophylaxis with their physician prior to travel.
Visitors are advised to refer to the U.S. State Department website for the most up-to-date general travel information http://www.state.gov/travel. Travel advisories regarding specific countries should be regularly reviewed at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.htmlPeople Served
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 and birth complications.Languages
Portuguese is the daily language of Angola. Portuguese and Spanish have many similarities, so fluency in Spanish does provide significant advantage. Very few Angolans speak English and translation is not readily available.Medical Care Facilities
The Lubango Evangelical Medical Center 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.
The Medical Center is also closely associated with the Kalukembe Hospital. Located 130 km northeast of Lubango, this 100-bed facilty provides a full range of healthcare services to an extremely impoverished rural community. The Medical Center regularly sends a team to perform surgical procedures at Kalukembe Hospital.Website
The Medical Center is lead by Steve Foster, MD, 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. Dr. Foster has lived in Angola since 1976. Steve Collins, MD, a Canadian family physician also trained in ophthalmology, provides much of the eye care. Paulo Buake, MD, an Angola general surgeon, provides part-time care. Dr. Buake is a graduate of the famed Pan-African Academy of Christians Surgeons and speaks English quite fluently. These are assisted by a variety of short-term healthcare personnel from the United States and Canada.Student Experience
Hundreds of healthcare professional students have studied at the Lubango Evangelical Medical Center since 2002. Responsibilities allocated to them generally depend upon language skills and clinical experience. The staff is quite keen about teaching and allowing students to participate with procedures.Student Lodging & Meals
Visitors are usually housed either in the Foster's home or in a nearby modern guesthouse. Meals can be self-prepared from groceries purchased at any number of stores or markets. Lunch is available at the hospital cafeteria most weekdays.Outside Communication
The Medical Center has wireless Internet access via a satellite-based broadband service. Alternately, Internet cafés are located throughout the city.Diversion
Lubango boasts several natural wonders that make for fascinating travel on weekends: waterfalls, ocean beaches, and rugged escarpments. Limited souvenir shopping is available.Facility Support
INMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to donate to support this facility. While such efforts are not required, this will provide INMED personnel to become involved in every aspect of international medicine.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: