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Africa In A Quagmire:

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By Author: Osoro P.J. Nyawangah
Total Articles: 4
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African governments are being faced with combination of demanding problems that other governments are confused.
Heavy combinations of crises facing Africa have put the continent in a state of confusion. The problems notably; famine, droughts, poverty, floods, corruption, government, civil wars and of course the HIV/AIDS pandemic,all thriving for first priority, leaving the governments upset. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is fuelling a widening and increasingly deadly famine in the continent especially in southern Africa according to the new comprehensive update on the global epidemic. According to the report, the African famine is a clear example of how the impact of HIV/ADIS reaches beyond the loss of life and the health care costs traditionally associated with the disease. More than 14 million people are now at risk of starvation in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi and Lesotho. Six of these predominantly agricultural societies are battling serious AIDS epidemics, with more than 5 million adults currently living with HIV/AIDS, out of the adult population of some 26million (19 percent). These countries ...
... also have a total of 600,000 under 15 children living with HIV. The impact of Aids in rural communities has greatly degreased the capacity of the communities to survive famine. Swaziland alone has 38.6 percent HIV positive adults, up from34.2 percent at the beginning of 2002. As we know, there is a point every country's AIDS crisis where the epidemic breaks out from especially vulnerable groups in the wider population. Daily reports detail the manner in which HIV/AIDS is fuelling other crises. As I have said earlier, it is combining with other factors; droughts, floods, poverty, corruption, civil war and in some cases short - sighted national and inter national policies - to cause a steady fall in agricultural production and cut deep into the household income. Aids- related deaths in a mural household cause crop out put to plummet - often by up to 60%. They suffer labor losses due to sickness therefore shrinking their income, leaving people with less money to buy food. Over 7 million agriculture workers in 25 countries have died of Aids since 1985 threatening Africa `s labor-force, most of who were in their productive prime. The famine is a tragic example of how this epidemic combines with other crises to create even greater catastrophes. What is happening today in sub-Saharan Africa illustrates that the continent is too far to solve its demanding problems, there fore these crises can not be addressed in isolation. Responses to, let's say, Aids must take into account that the epidemic has an impact in every economic and social sector. The food security situation in the continent has continued to deteriorate with only moderate response from donors. Africa can no longer stand on its own, hence waiting for more moderate responses from donors for poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS fight etc, because it has become increasingly closely intertwined. Still more resources are needed a mid some early signs of success in the fight against Aids are identified. Awareness campaigns and prevention programs that have been launched in recent years are starting to have an impact, particularly among young people. These trends follow the reporting of similar findings in Uganda that continues to demonstrate success in reducing infections in several parts of the country. Thus boosting of successes in awareness and prevention programs and without laying concrete and more effective measures by fighting poverty simultaneously would be nonsense. Over the past two years, the international community has come to recognize what is needed in terms of resources and political leadership to combat the pandemic and poverty. And they show generosity. Since we can not say that in either category we are any where near where we need to be to have significant impact on the epidemic and other crises, a challenge to governments to utilize the available resources effectively for the welfare of our people is on. Calculation by the UNAIDS shows that effective prevention and care programs in low- and middle- income countries will require US$10.5 billion world wide by 2005. Funding needs will then rise significantly so that by 2007 some US $15 billion a year will be needed to successfully combat AIDS- and that level would have to be maintained for at least a decade there after -HOW HORRIFYING! About the Author freelance journalist, district political party secretary and african cultural advocate.

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