Archive for the 'africa' Category

08
Jan
08

Malawi to raise pay of civil servants with HIV

LILONGWE (Reuters) – Malawi plans to start paying civil servants suffering from HIV/AIDS about $35 a month extra to help them buy more food, Health Minister Marjorie Ngaunje said on Monday.

Malawi, with a population of about 13 million, ranks among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, home to two-thirds of those infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Ngaunje told Reuters the government had sent out a circular urging all civil servants affected by the disease to come forward.

“We thought an extra 5,000 Malawi kwacha on top of their monthly salaries would go a long way in improving their nutritional requirements which are essential to their well-being,” Ngaunje said.

Civil servants in Malawi earn an average $200 per month.

Official estimates show that AIDS kills about 10 people an hour in the impoverished southern African nation, which is increasingly unable to cope with the crisis.

Health officials estimate that a million Malawians are infected with HIV and about 640,000 have died of AIDS-related causes since 1985.

Malawi spends about $13 per capita on health annually, far below the $36 recommended by the World Health Organization.

Mary Shawa, Principal Secretary for Nutrition and HIV/Aids in the president’s office, said the monthly payment would help prolong the lives of many affected civil servants.

“We know that thousands are infected in the civil service and with the new system we expect to have exact numbers when people enroll as beneficiaries,” she said.

30
Nov
07

World Aids Day, Dec 1: What’s going on??

Here is a round up of links with news and events about the upcoming World Aids Day for 2007.

Rock group Queen to release new single to mark World AIDS Day

AIDS Action Council Statement on World AIDS Day 2007

SIRIUS: Honors International Day of AIDS Awareness

World AIDS Day in India

Grab your free condoms on World Aids Day

Proclamation by the President: World AIDS Day, 2007

CNN Student News Learning Activity: World AIDS Day

World Aids Day Campaign to Shine a Light of Hope on the HIV/AIDS

Global vigil for AIDS orphans begins in Toronto

Zambia: ON December 1, Country Will Join the World AIDS Day

Experts Available to Discuss World AIDS Day, HIV/AIDS Issues

25
Oct
07

Second Condom Recall in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — South Africa is recalling millions of locally manufactured condoms after tens of thousands failed an air burst test, dealing a further blow to the country’s campaign to prevent the spread of AIDS.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday the recall involves condoms distributed free by the government.

It follows a scandal in which the South African company Zalatex was found to have bribed an official of the South African Bureau of Standards to approve defective condoms. After the scandal broke in August, the government ordered 20 million condoms to be recalled or held at the factory. Only 12 million have been recovered.

19
Oct
07

South Africa losing battle against HIV/Aids

BBC News: Unicef’s South Africa representative, Macharia Kamau, said infection and death rates were outpacing treatment.

This was having a devastating effect on children whose parents died of Aids, and sent out a dire message for the future, he said.

Mr Kamau said if present trends continued, there could be five million orphans in South Africa by 2015.

Huge risk

South Africa is one of just nine countries worldwide where infant mortality is rising – from 60 deaths per 1,000 births in 1990, to 95 deaths today.

The main reason, Unicef says, is HIV/Aids.

The average infection rate is almost 30% of the population – and in some regions it is closer to 50%.

Speaking in Geneva, Mr Kamau said the effect on children was devastating, and that infants whose mothers died of Aids were at huge risk of dying themselves.

Older children who have lost one or more parents faced a struggle to survive and to go to school, he added.

In South Africa today there are 1.5 million Aids orphans. If the trend of 400,000 deaths from Aids per year continues, by 2015, the number of orphans will have reached five million.

Mr Kamau said that the numbers of people in South Africa being treated for Aids were constantly being outstripped by the numbers becoming infected and dying.

He described this as a dire message for the future because although 380,000 South African Aids patients were receiving anti-retroviral drugs, 1.2 million were not receiving treatment.

As long as infection and death rates continued to outpace treatment, South Africa would lose the battle against Aids, he said.

Unicef says an aggressive expansion of treatment is needed immediately, alongside a much more open Aids prevention campaign from the government, to challenge the stigma which still surrounds the disease in South Africa.

14
Sep
07

Cambodia and Ethiopia: Real life stories of people living with HIV & hunger

2006 WFP/A K Kimoto Chea and her husband Hom receive a WFP food ration, which helps ensure that their TB and anti-retroviral treatment is as effective as possible.

Cambodia: Chea, Hom and Nob Nem

11 August 2006 – Chea, 36, worked as a construction laborer in Phnom Penh. “I don’t know when I became HIV-positive but we were both tested in 2005 during Hom’s pregnancy.”

“I am on anti-retroviral therapy but now I have TB. At the moment I am too ill to work, though I am slowly improving and want to work again,” said Chea.

Normally he earns roughly $US7.50 per month.

Making ends meet

Hom brings in a small income by recycling rice bags into ropes for leading cattle.

It is labour intensive work and she manages to make 100 to 200 ropes per month, which sell for $US1.50 per hundred.

“Both our families sold their land and cattle in order to pay for treatment and food for us,” she explained.

After giving birth to their daughter, Hom required blood transfusions which finished the money completely.

Reflecting on the future

“We have nothing except our healthy baby,” she added. The baby’s grandmother, Nob Nem, is visibly upset as she contemplates the family’s future.

The baby is her first grandchild and she has spent much time with her while Hom was ill.

“We are accepted in the village. Whenever anyone needs anything we are there,” Nob Nem says.

The family relies on Partners in Compassion, a local non-governmental organization for assistance.

The package of care they receive includes a food ration from WFP, which helps ensure that the TB and anti-retroviral treatment that Chea and Hom receive is as effective as possible.

Ethiopia: Tsehai Tesfaye

My name is Tsehai Tesfaye. I’m 37 years old and come from a very poor family.

I have never worked other than being a sex worker. Any guy who would pay me for love was welcome. This was how I earned a living.

As I was going out with different men, I was often sick with sexually transmitted infections.

Poor health

I have a feeling I got the virus from the one man I fell in love with. The guy was handsome, had a good job that paid him well.

We had a decent life for some time. But I started getting sick, so we separated.

Three years ago, I was tested and told that I am HIV-positive. Now my health is sporadic. I have an aching chest, a sore throat and a cough.

In this clinic where you found me, there were some 30 of us who were taking treatments for HIV.

Surviving

Most have died and the few of us still alive survive thanks to the Community Based Integrated Sustainable Development Organization.

I’m also receiving food. Thanks to the organization, I’m receiving 30 kilo grammes of wheat and some cooking oil.

I’m actually well fed and am not induced to go the other way to earn a living.

Family infected

I head a family of nine, seven of whom are my children. Three in the family – my youngest daughter, my brother and myself – are living with the HIV virus.

My youngest daughter was almost always sick and losing weight. So I took her to the health center where they told me the reality. I think she got it from me.

I’m doing my part for my 20-year-old daughter to prevent her from falling into the miserable life I led.

Young as she is, I’m advising her to be careful in her life. I don’t know to what extent I’ll be successful.

Good nutrition vital

Now I see one big problem. If I fall ill for a longer period of time, that may force my three young kids to look after me, which will eventually affect their schooling.

I openly tell to all I have the virus in my body and advise them they should be watchful not to be infected.

I even warn those who have the virus that they should eat nutritious food as much as possible so they live longer.

When I don’t eat well, the illness becomes worse; all my body becomes full of rashes. Had it not been for the food I am still getting, you wouldn’t have seen me talking to you now.

World Food Programme 

31
Aug
07

Papua New Guinea AIDS Crisis May Mirror Africa’s

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) — Papua New Guinea’s AIDS epidemic may mirror the crisis in Africa as infections surge with more than 75 percent of sufferers unable to access drugs to manage the disease, the United Nations said.

“It could very much become an Africa-type situation if the required services are not in place,” Tim Rwabuhemba, Papua New Guinea coordinator for the United Nations AIDS agency, said in an interview from the capital, Port Moresby. “There is an urgent need for more HIV services across the board here.”

The nation of 6 million people now accounts for 90 percent of the Pacific region’s HIV cases and is one of only four Asia- Pacific countries experiencing an epidemic, according to the UN. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 60 percent of all people living with the HIV virus, a total of more than 25 million people.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, appeared in Papua New Guinea in the early 1990s and has spread to the remote highlands, a region where villagers didn’t come into contact with Europeans until the 1930s.

More than half a million Papua New Guineans will be infected with the virus by 2025, resulting in a 13 percent drop in the available workforce and a 1.3 percent decline in the $15 billion economy, AusAID, Australia’s development agency, said.

In 20 years, 117,000 children will have lost their mothers to AIDS and 70 percent of the country’s hospital beds will be needed for patients, it estimates. – click here for the rest of this article

24
Aug
07

Requiring HIV tests for pregnant women

NewsObserver.com reports that North Carolina is considering a moved that will require all pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy to be tested for HIV if they have not already been tested.  Newborns who are brought into medical facilities for whom HIV status is not known will also be tested under the proposed plan.

In South Africa researchers have called for a debate on mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women and newborn children.  An article in the American Journal of Public Health by two former University of the Witwatersrand bioethicists says that between 11 000 and 15 000 babies could be protected against HIV each year if there were a 25% increase in the number of pregnant women tested for the virus.  Click here for more info.