Access to care

Health for all

How technology, partnerships, and passion can help to improve access to care
Published on April 12, 2023

When a new public hospital opened in the remote province of Cabinda, Angola, our colleague Isabel Tomas saw firsthand how modern medical technology can enhance access to health care.

In Angola, 64% of the population has no access to health care.1 For the people in the remote exclave of Cabinda, that meant there was only one provincial hospital, and it could not support patients needing more complex medical procedures. Instead, patients had to travel to neighboring Congo to receive these services. In time-critical cases, this had the potential of developing into a life-threatening situation.
This is no longer the case today. In 2022, the General Hospital of Cabinda opened with top-of-the-line medical technology to ensure patients can receive the care they need.

“The General Hospital of Cabinda is a compelling example of how technology and digitalization can really make a difference on people’s lives,” Isabel says. “In the first year alone, more than 6000 patients have already been treated.”

A native of Portugal, Isabel has lived in Casablanca, Morocco, for the past 10 years and since the beginning of 2021 has been overseeing Business partnerships in Portuguese-speaking Angola – a country almost as large as Germany, France, and Italy combined. Last year, she was directly involved in the opening of the new public hospital in the Angolan exclave:

Logistically, Cabinda province is hard to reach. This is why the hospital is equipped with an MRI scanner that requires almost no helium and thus is not reliant on sufficient liquid helium imports. In addition, remote scanning helps medical professionals on site to obtain expert opinions from radiologists around the world.

However, improving access to care is not just about new hospitals and new systems; there is no one-size-fits-all model.

Instead, Isabel’s team is working on creating partnerships in the local community to better understand the care they specifically need.

“In Angola, it’s important to be in the local community, forming partnerships and talking with people face to face,” she explains. “What we do today also has to create value in the future. It must have an impact in Angola in the next 20, 30, or even 50 years. And it isn’t just about the equipment. It’s about services, education, the entire environment, and about social issues. This is where we can add value.”

Isabel is proud of what the team has already achieved in Cabinda: “We’re a relatively young team and have only been around for two and a half years. But what we do have in common is our passion: We want to make a difference – we want to create value and do something important for our planet and our future.”