The first five years of life are the most important in human development, establishing the foundation of a person’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional capacity. Chronic illness, including HIV, as well as inadequate nutrition and a lack of opportunities to learn compromises this development and can result in a child falling behind, with life-long results.
Angola’s under-five mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 158—three times higher than the global average. The leading causes of death among this age group include malaria, diarrheal diseases, and pneumonia, and are directly related to poor hygiene: using untreated water, inadequate handwashing, and improper sanitation. Th ese are national concerns, but become even more urgent in the province of Cunene, one of the areas most affected by drought in 2013; the lack of water has further complicated hygienic practices.