Family Planning Saves Lives in Angola

Promoting safer motherhood and healthier families in Angola
Mongueno Jambeli, pictured here with three of her five children, regularly visits the USAID-funded Health Center Malangino.
G. Figueiredo, USAID
Working to reduce maternal and infant mortality
“The community health workers talked to my husband and helped convince him of the benefits of family planning.”

May 2014—“During my sixth pregnancy, I almost died,” said Mongueno Jambeli, a 31-year-old mother of five from the municipality of Kilamba-Kiaxi, in Luanda, Angola. The harrowing experience inspired her to change her life.

Before her brush with death, Jambeli was proactive about her health; she received regular health services at a USAID-supported neighborhood health center. She had talked with health staff trained by USAID and learned about the benefits of birth spacing to give her body time to heal between pregnancies. But she remained hesitant about using contraception after hearing rumors about negative side effects from friends.

Jambeli is not the only hesitant mother fearful of using contraception. Angola’s fertility rate is 6.3 according to the 2013 World Population Data Sheet. Only 18 percent of married women ages 15 to 49 use any form of contraception. Although access to health services has improved dramatically in recent years—from 30 percent in 2006 to 45 percent in 2012, most of the country’s rural poor remain out of touch with new government outreach programs such as family planning that can help save lives.

With severe complications during her last pregnancy, Jambeli knew she had to find a way to prevent future pregnancies so she would always be there for her five children. She considered the information she heard from the health center staff in a new light, and talked to her sister-in-law, who reinforced what the health workers had taught her about the benefits of family planning.

“The community health workers talked to my husband and helped convince him of the benefits of family planning," she said. "We went together to my neighborhood health center for a consultation and we decided to use a family planning method. We chose the long-term family planning contraceptive method for its efficacy and safety as explained to us by the nurse.” Jambeli was pleased with her choice: It’s been more than three years since her last delivery.

USAID has supported efforts to strengthen family planning services in Angola since 2007. By training health care providers to promote contraceptive use for families such as Jambeli’s, USAID is helping the Government of Angola achieve its highest level health goals to reduce the current maternal mortality rate from 450 deaths per 100,000 live births to 250, and to reduce the current infant mortality rate from 98 deaths per 1,000 live births to 60 by 2017.