Vaccination policies and state-building in post-war Angola
The article explores how public health policies may be used by the state to (re)gain its legitimacy. The author examines this through the example of the use of vaccination policies in Angola, a Southern African country torn apart by thirty years of civil war. In particular, the author looks at how the Angolan government has managed to regain control of the country, understood as both a territory and a population, and focuses on the construction of the Angolan nation and the key role of women in this tactic. Vaccination policies have been used with four non-medical purposes: to reconquer the territory, to frame the nursing workforce, to shape motherhood, and, through the use of statistics, to reinforce and integrate the Angolan health system into the global one. Women as the primary carers of children and as health workers are instrumental to the Angolan state’s strategy for winning back the territory and the population.