The New York Times takes a look at the cholera epidemic currently striking Angola. As the article makes blatantly clear, the epidemic is not the result of the Angolan government suffering from a lack of resources - its exports of oil and diamonds support a thriving economy. Rather, the outbreak, which started in February, is the result of a lack of political willpower:
"We are talking about a government that has the means," said Stephan Goetghebuer, East Africa coordinator for Doctors Without Borders. "There are a lot of things they could be doing. The living conditions are really terrible, and they are terrible even if you compare them to other places in Africa."
Sebastião Veloso, Angola's health minister, said the scope of the problem defied a quick fix. "We just do our best," he said. "The lack of infrastructure is a very complicated administrative problem. We are doing our part at the Ministry of Health, and the rest of government must do its part. We are pressuring the government, because otherwise these epidemics will continue."
According to the United Nations Development Programme, Angola spent just 2.1% of its GDP on public health in 2002. By contrast, in 2003 it spent almost twice as much, 4.7%, of its GDP on military expenses.