In an open letter to the President of Angola, the organisation “Voices of Angola in Europe” writes that there have been “five deaths in less than four months”, since “the sick of the medical board in Portugal were abandoned and left in precarious and vulnerable conditions by the Angolan Government”.
The association refers in the letter to Joao Lourenço that the origin of the deaths is due to the cancellation of the subsidies they received from the Angolan State, to be in Portugal undergoing health treatments. “So far there have been five victims of these atrocities, and if they were avoided we could still have our compatriots alive: Martins Kizela, Domingos Martins Sana, Josué Bartolomeu Bumba, Lucia Mbeba, Felix S. Lucas”, the document continues.
Following the closure of Angola's medical board in Portugal, in February, dozens of patients returned to Angola, but most chose to stay in Portugal, claiming they needed to continue receiving treatments that they claim do not exist in their country. At the time, the Angolan government stated that, before the closing of the medical board, there were 385 citizens in Portugal, including patients and caregivers. The closing of the board followed an audit that assessed the patients and reportedly detected “several abuses in the use of this mechanism”.
In February 27 patients returned, joining the 17 who had already chosen to return, by their own means, because their health situation had been resolved. 47 patients and 20 companions remained, receiving support from the Angolan state, with return expected by the end of the year.
Around 100 patients who chose not to return were left on their own and without the support of the State, neither for the payment of the room in their pension where they still live, nor for expenses. They continued, however, to receive medical treatment, under the agreement between Angola and Portugal in the area of health.
Voices of Angola in Europe states that “some patients are in a critical situation, such as kidney and cancer patients, high-risk patients, some with unremoved tracheostomy, and these people are debilitated, without strength and with mobility difficulties, and the abandonment by the Angolan health sector in Portugal, which is responsible for the State of Angola, can lead to more patients dying”.
The situation is being monitored by the Association of Angolan Patients in Portugal (ADAP), and its secretary-general, Vitorino Leonardo, told Lusa that the worsening of conditions is harming the already weak state of health of these patients. “When they lost the support of the Angolan state, the sick had to leave their pensions and move to live with relatives, friends, shelter centers or even on the street,” he said. He added: "Many are in need of food, are unable to buy some medicines that are not free, and the state of permanent stress does not help at all in the case of having these diseases, which are already very complicated, so complicated that in Angola there is no solution for them."
Voices of Angola in Europe and ADAP have appealed to various leaders from Angola and Portugal, as well as international organisations, to look at and resolve the situation of these citizens. Criticising the lack of answers, they threaten to take the case to international courts, as they consider it a violation of human rights.