Bishop Martín Lasarte Topolansky of Angola’s Lwena Diocese has urged the government to prioritize “human resources” education and health facilities, especially those in rural areas.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, October 25, after a pastoral visit to Angola’s Moxico Province, Bishop Lasarte decried the shortage of professionals in the education and health sectors in nine municipalities.
“I saw beautiful schools built by the government in various very distant places like Calunda, but the sad thing is the lack of human resources; we found schools without teachers,” the Catholic Bishop told journalists after spending close to two weeks in Moxico province.
He added, “I also saw hospitals and health centers without doctors, nurses, or medicines.”
“The government should prioritize local staff to serve in schools and hospitals in rural areas,” the Uruguayan-born member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), whose Episcopal appointment was made public on July 1, said.
According to him, hiring local staff will “provide employment for local young people, avoiding the frustration of migrating to urban centers.”
Natives, Bishop Lasarte explained, are best placed because they know the language and the cultures of the indigenous people.
“The positive element for employing local staff is their knowledge of the mother tongue,” the SDB Bishop said, and described native languages as “a valuable heritage” for Angolans.
He continued, “Having teachers who know the local languages as well as teaching local languages would be a great asset, stimulating the promotion of our cultural heritage and avoiding the paradigms of new colonization.”
Having natives in institutions of learning and in health facilities, the Catholic Bishop said, “would really bring about development, which is why this debate on the institutionalization of local authorities is of capital importance.
He explained, “Local governments have the greatest decision-making power on some issues and do not simply follow orders from Luanda, from the Central Government, which requires continuous adaptation to the places where we find ourselves.”
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