Archive for June, 2011

Inspired By Dissertation 1


I’m presently working on my postgraduate dissertation, it is supposed to be about 15,000  words. I am not even sure where to get all those words from but I’ve just been exploring different themes that relate to the subject matter (I’m writing on healthcare systems in West Africa…well specifically ECOWAS) and i came across something interesting. I mentioned it in one of my previous posts but reading about it in detail kind of makes me want to talk about it and there is no one to talk about it to so i decided to bring it up in the one place where i can rant as much as i want!!!

Turns out Brain Drain affects Africa more than you could ever imagine, Statistics have a way of making things seem more realistic. When i talked about brain drain previously I had no idea how many people were moving in and out of Africa (this does not include people who travel for holidays or tourism) so it didn’t seem like a big deal then. Studying/ partially studying for my project is clearing things up for me. People in Africa would rather work abroad than in Africa (well i can’t speak for everyone but a good number of people would) and who am I to judge when I’m writing this post from Bristol. I just wonder if there will ever be a time when Africans  will find Africa attractive enough to want to pass on opportunities abroad. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with traveling and exploring the world.

If you know me well, you would know I have to link this up with HIV/AIDS…and yes there is a link between brain drain and HIV/AIDS. A UNAIDS report shows that there is lack of enough medical and other professional personnel in Africa which is a setback because these professionals could be useful in the prevention and treatment of AIDS.

Teachers, medical researchers, Doctors, Nurses etc are all crucial to the fight against HIV in Africa and I know the grass may always look greener on the other side but if everyone migrates, who do we really expect to fill in the vacuum? Just something to think about! I can’t really say all I have to say because some of the info is reserved for dissertation and no part of it is supposed to published. I may rant on this topic after i submit!

THE LINK BETWEEN THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS AND HIV/AIDS!!!


The link between the global food insecurity and HIV/AIDS is a rather obvious one. People living with HIV/AIDS need proper nutrition to help boost their immune system. This is a challenge in Sub- Saharan Africa because of the high level of HIV/AIDS and poverty in the region. This has led food aid organizations such as the World Food Programme (WFP) to change their approach to distributing aid.They have partnered with UNAIDS as part of their response to HIV/AIDS and food insecurity.

It is sad to think of how many people living with HIV/AIDS have no access to food which contains the adequate nutrients they need. Obviously, the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa is now intertwined with every other development issue. It will be difficult to carry out poverty eradication/ reduction programmes without considering that about 22 million people in Sub Saharan Africa have this disease. National governments have to include nutrition in their HIV/AIDS strategic plan because providing ARVs and VCT centres is not enough. They also have to come up with measures to provide sustainable means of access to food with the proper nutrients for people in rural areas because they cannot solely rely on government and NGO handouts.

The High level meeting on AIDS which took place last week concluded that the HIV response should be integrated with broader health and development issues. It is easier said than done and like i said in my previous post I look forward to implementation schemes by various African country and i hope the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa can be reduced by 2015.

 

NEW GLOBAL COMPACT FOR HIV!!!


The UN high level meeting on HIV/AIDS began yesterday, 08/06/2011. Its been 30 years since the discovery of HIV/AIDS and many countries have been battling with this disease some a lot more than others. It is common knowledge that Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected. Some days ago, a report which showed that treating TB would reduce the number of deaths among people living with HIV/AIDS and now the new compact as agreed upon from yesterday’s meeting calls for shared responsibility.

Shared responsibility is necessary because the global economic crisis hit many economies hard and as a result funding for HIV projects has reduced. A UNAIDS report shows 70% of funding for HIV/AIDS in 56 countries comes from international donor funding. The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe acknowledged that we need  to share responsibility based on shared values for a social compact. The new compact calls for:

1. Country responsibility- smart responses and recognition of human rights, increase in domestic investment based on   ability

2. International responsibility -predictable long-term financing, new development partnership and increased support from emerging countries

3. Shared responsibility for innovation- innovating finance mechanisms especially from the private sector, south south cooperation and joint planning of smart responses.

Personally, I like the third call to action, South- South cooperation has not been fully utilised. A lot could be accomplished especially through the use of regional blocs such as ECOWAS, SADC, EAC and ECCAS. Also because of the amount of money needed to carry out HIV projects, involving the private sector is a really good idea. The government cannot do it all. I look forward to seeing how states implement these policies.

 

PREVENTING TB AMONG PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


Recent reports by UNAIDS, WHO and the Stop TB Foundation show that preventing TB among People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) can save up to a million lives. According to UNAIDS, one in four people living with HIV/AIDS dies of TB and this could be avoided because TB can be cured. They have set a goal to reduce the number of TB deaths by half by 2015. It is almost impossible for me to imagine how horrible the combination of TB and HIV is yet many people have to live with this reality. The Stop TB Foundation report shows that even though the poor and disadvantaged are at high risk of getting TB individuals with good incomes living with HIV are also vulnerable to TB.

This report is very timely considering the fact that the UN High Level meeting on HIV/AIDS takes place from the 8th- 10th of June, 2011. The major problem however is inadequate/insufficient action. It is not exactly breaking news that TB is curable, there has been inadequate action in providing sufficient TB medication to PLWHA especially in Africa. This report serves as a wake up call for leaders on nations and organizations involved in providing care and treatment to PLWHA. As a result a new model has been launched and it calls for:

1. Testing for HIV/AIDS should be provided every 3 years in places where the disease is prevalent

2. Active treatment for PLWHA who have TB and preventive treatment for PLWHA who do not have TB

3. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be started early because it would prevent TB since the ART would boost the immune system.

4. PLWHA who are diagnosed with active TB should start ART regardless of the status of their immune system.

This does seem workable but also means that national governments should not relent efforts put into campaigns that call for regular HIV/AIDS tests because as the report shows if ART is started early TB could be avoided.

It is 30 years into the AIDS epidemic and the international community is doing what they can- Every one has a role to play in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

AFRICAN DAY!!!


For those who do not know, May 25th is the official African Liberation Day. The theme for this year was ‘Forging closer links between Africa and the diaspora’, this meeting took place only a week before the UN high level meeting on HIV/AIDS which is exactly why I am very much interested.

It is a coincidence that these two important meetings were held during the same time  frame but it is no surprise that Africa ia losing many of its citizens to the developing world. People keep migrating for various reasons: education, economic factors and health reasons just to mention a few. In Zimbabwe for instance a lot of workers in the healthcare sector have moved abroad for better opportunities. How does  this affect Africa especially now that we are waging a war against HIV/AIDS?

To simply state it, the consequences of HIV/AIDS are more when people keep fleeing the continent. Teachers who go abroad to seek better opportunities leave a vacuum in their respective countries and as a result people do not the required education, without education the cycle of poverty continues and poverty is the major reason why more than 22 million people in Sub- Saharan Africa are infected with HIV.

I’m not in any way trying to criticise people in the diaspora, I’m only saying that sometimes people do not really want to leave home but they have to. The issue of brain drain should not be over looked because it is really crucial to Africa’s development. The governments of African countries will have to find ways of ensuring that they don’t lose their educated citizens to the western world.

The theme of the conference depicts that there is a need to build a relationship between Africans in the diaspora and Africans in the motherland. The UN also declared that 2011 is the year for People of African Descent!!!!!