AIDS in Africa

  1. Saw a thing on the news about Canada's plans for increasing economic development in Africa, and one critic mentionned that it failed to adress the issue of AIDS, which he thinks is the most important issue in order to improve the economy there.

    One of the things he said was that since Sepember 11th, over 100 billion dollars have been donated to help the victims' families. This was all in response to the death of about 3000 people. Then he said the United Nations has had to beg on its hands and knees to get something like 2 billion over 3 years to deal with HIV and AIDS in Africa, which he said killed about 2 million people there last year I think. They asked for 10 billion a year. I recently went to a seminar put on by a nurse from Swaziland about HIV and AIDS in her country. She said the life expectancy now is in the forties, but they expect it to drop to the 20's by 2010. She also said up to half of all babies born in her home town are born with HIV. They don't even have enough meds to give to pregnant women to try to decrease maternal fetal transmission rates. I found the whole thing really disturbing.

    Now, I am one of the people who gave to Sept 11th charities and I have never given any money to any charity working to decrease AIDS rates in Africa (only given once to a charity that works with AIDS in Canada because a friend was doing a charity run), but I wonder why? Why don't we hear more about this and why aren't people more supportive to empowering agencies (like the UN) to do more? I know that Sept. 11th hit home more for most of us, but these are still people, even if they aren't as close as NY.

    Any comments or thoughts?
    Last edit by fergus51 on Jun 21, '02
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   LasVegasRN
    Some call it tunnel vision.

    Some believe Americans are egocentric.

    I don't know, fergus.
  4. by   jayna
    As an UN WORKER MYSELF, I would really appreciated the donations from any countries to support the ever increasing disease like AIDS in Africa.
  5. by   MollyJ
    Fergus,
    If you haven't read it already, you should read Laurie Garrett's two books: The Coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust (I think): The Collapse of Global Public Health.

    Americans and possibly Canadians dismiss the impact of AIDS and HIV in Africa on all of us. And Africa is not the only country with falling life expectancy. So is Russia! (due to MDR TB, AIDS and alcoholism) See Garrett's second book. It's not a very glamorous cause but if we don't do something about global public health, the problem will come to roost on our own door step.
  6. by   prn nurse
    This week I read in two different newspapers here quotes of 2.5 billion and 2.3 billion respectively. 100 Billion in donations...???? At best someone put in too many zeroes.
  7. by   prn nurse
    To shed some light on your question, I can share what I have read. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about three years ago. It said there is not a country in Africa capable of ruling itself. It said "The entire continent has been written off for the next century."

    Why do we not help the entire continent?
    One of the reasons advanced is population control. HIV and wars and famines have been allowed to run their courses in Africa without significant intervention. The world is over-populated and throughout this century, events will happen that will check populations.

    It is a matter of global politics. If all these African nations were empowered, they would/could unite and challenge the big guys.

    The big guys do have control and plan to keep it. There are no plans to give it away.
  8. by   MollyJ
    Garrett's books help people to realize that the "not my problem" attitude that I believe is portrayed in the previous post is VERY short sighted. And prn, I am not saying that YOU have a bad opinion I am commenting on the opinion you reflect (i believe, accurately).

    The health problems of Africa and Russia and other third world nations are the world's problems, they are OUR problem.
  9. by   fergus51
    prn nurse, I didn't phrase it exactly, so I found the transcript. He said: . "On September the 11th, 2001, in response to the death of 3,000 people in a grotesque terrorist incident, the world managed to raise within weeks, over $100 billion and climbing in inexorably to this day. In response to the death of 2,300,000 people last year in sub-Saharan Africa, we have to get on our hands and knees to plead for $2 billion over three years".

    I assume he is talking about money given by the gov't (like the increase in military spending) as well as charities. I shouldn't have said "donation".

    The full transcript is available from "The National"'s website. Here's a link if anyone is interested
    http://cbc.ca/national/trans/index.html
    Click on the date June 18, 2002.

    You can also get to it using the date it was aired, June 18, 2002.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Jun 21, '02
  10. by   fergus51
    MACKINNON: There's an irony in the fact that though the NEPAD process started before September the 11th, the salvation scheme for Africa is in part a response to it based on fear the hopeless poverty breads terrorism. But if AIDS sells a whole continent, its power could be far more profound than any terrorist attack

    This quote says it all. People are always saying that abject poverty breeds hopelessness and terrorism. If you want a reason to be angry at a country, I think the fact that it won't do anything to help you deal with AIDS when it could is reason enough. And, no I am not saying it is the job of the US to save the world, this applies to all rich countries, not just them. I think the US is just the one who will suffer the consequences more than any other country.

    Ever hear that expression "to whom much is given, much is expected" or something like that? I just sometimes wonder if I am meeting that expectation, or if my country is.
  11. by   prn nurse
    The US government won't do anything to help it's own citizens to buy presciptions they need and are doing without.

    There would be an uprising of some sort if the government paid the pharmaceutical companies $40,000 per year for each African AIDS patients medicines .........while allowing one's own parents and grandparents to choose between eating and taking ones' medicine.

    These grandparents are over 55 , have worked and paid taxes all their lives and without insurance and the money to pay for medicine.

    Many people believe the Africans contributed to their AIDS?HIV diagnosis with their behavior.

    Whereas, grandma's Parkinsons' medication which costs $800 a month and grandpa's arthritis and blood pressure which cost $600 a month were not a result of their behavior.

    So, which people get the government aid? At the present time, it is the Africans.
  12. by   prn nurse
    Fergus, I did read the article. At the end there is two sites for "contacting us." I e- mailed them with a question of where they obtained their 100 billion dollar quote. ? I explained that last week both The Washington Post and The New York Times published articles reporting $ 2.3 billion raised in the U.S. since 9-11. One reported 2.3 and the other 2.5. Anyway, I said that I find it hard to believe that the rest of the countries of the world gave 97.5 billion dollars. And could they supply the source....of their information? If you think about it, it simply couldn't happen. The U.S. raised 2.5 billion, we are the worlds' richest country. We give foreign aid money to practically all the other countries, the other countries would have had to return all of their American foreign aid for 2001 and 2002, and it still would not add up to 97.5 Billion. Some countries thought we deserved it, ( 9-11 ) and some countries populations were barely fazed. Do you think Mexico and India, Chile, Myamar, the Phillipines......as examples, donated Billions. ? I'll let you all know if there is a reply. (Maybe you would like to send in a request also)....We could all write and see what they have to say.
  13. by   fergus51
    Like I said I think the money is including gov't dollars. It didn't say donations, that was my misquote. Hopefully you'll get a reply.

    You'll get no argument from me at expanding drug coverage for American citizens. I know there are poor people in America, but they are still rich compared to most of the world. Hell, most people on welfare still have tvs and vcrs! I am not suggesting we don't help them and choose to focus only on AIDS instead. I just don't think we should completely forget about Africans because they aren't next door. They are still people.

    I am also not suggesting we give each African with AIDS 40 000$ a year to pay for their medication either. But drug companies could afford to give some of those meds at a cheaper cost, and I think there are certain people, especially pregnant women who it would be wise to help. I also think this money (the 10 billion the UN wants) could be spent on PREVENTION.

    And, yes, some people with AIDS got it from sex or drug use which they could have prevented. But, a lot were born with it. A lot are getting it from their mother's breastmilk. And however they got it is completely irrelevant to me. I don't believe in denying care to the alcoholic with cirhosis, the smoker with lung cancer, or the non-compliant diabetic with an MI. I don't put HIV in a special category.

    I just think we're being really shortsighted if we think this problem won't come home to roost. If we can increase defense spending by over 100 billion, I don't see why we couldn't give say 1 billion towards the UN fight against AIDS in Africa. I believe that other rich nations (Canada, Japan, all the EU countries, Australia, etc.) should also pull their share. I went to a lecture by an economist in town who talked about drug resistant TB as one of the biggest threats to our security. What better weapon for terrorists than an infected person who could just hop on a plane to the US and cough on some people?
  14. by   prn nurse
    It is not the American poor who is unable to buy their prescriptions. The American poor are eligible for welfare benefits, .....that pays for their prescriptions.

    A billion dollars is a lot of money. A hundred billion dollars. Even governments haven't come close to giving that amount since 9-11. I hope these guys reply also. It sounded good, but didn't add up.

    The drug companies have decreased their fees for foreign countries, this has been ongoing for years in the HIV treatment in Africa. At least a decade. Many countries have been receiving HIV aid via American drug companies for many years. Maintainance is said to cost an American citizen $40,000 a year. Hence, welfare pays or insurance company. I think they take something like forty pills a day.

    Their is a loooooooooonnnngggg history of U.S. HIV aid to Africa. Can we afford to treat each and every infected one? No.

    These guys in the news focused on one single area that they are interested in....did not do their homework. If they did, they would have said, "Yes, the U.S. has sent x # of dollars to 20 different countries in the last ten years." And then listed the countries and amounts. The Africans, as the Americans, have known the causes of HIV for ten years, yet this year, I am sure a few million more will become infected. Will the American taxpayer be expected to treat them for the next twenty years? OR will grandma who worked all her life who now has Parkinsons' receive prescription purchasing government assistance? Medicare does NOT pay for any prescriptions.

    So, in an either/or situation....who gets the billion in tax dollars?

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