The southern African country of Zambia has set a new record - one which no country would wish to hold. The average life expectancy in the country is 33 years - by far the lowest in the world - and it is all due to Aids.
Equity in Health
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa announced his government will provide free anti-retroviral drugs to about 100,000 patients by next year through the public health system. In a state-of-the-nation address to parliament, Mwanawasa said 10,000 HIV-infected people have so far been put on anti-retroviral therapy provided by the government.
THE breakdown in health services, the spread of the HIV/AIDS and multi-drug resistance have worsened the impact of TB, World Health Organisation (WHO) has noted.
HIV/AIDS will and must surely be on the mind of the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning as he prepares the budget for fiscal year 2002. Emmanuel Kasonde is the immediate past Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS/STD/TB Council. As past chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Council he must have agonized and formed some ideas on how Zambia must respond to this devastating socioeconomic imperative.
The U.S. Agency for International Development plans to give Zambia $24 million to combat AIDS and malaria and improve the quality of drinking water, the U.S. embassy in Lusaka, Zambia, said last Tuesday in a statement, the Associated Press reports. The money will be used to fund health education programs - coordinated by the government and the Society for Family Health - over the next six years. Zambia on Tuesday banned free condom distribution in schools just as USAID announced its funding for HIV/AIDS programs, with condom distribution a "key part of the strategy," Reuters reports.
POVERTY cannot be reduced in the current environment where HIV/AIDS prevalence is high, a Ministry of Finance report to the World Bank has stated.
Human rights groups this week condemned legal action against a Zambian legislator who alleged people had died of starvation in his constituency, thereby contradicting government assurances of no hunger-related deaths in the drought-hit countryside. Vitalis Mooya, the member of parliament (MP) for Moomba, about 240 km south of the capital Lusaka, faces charges of making false statements aimed at causing public alarm, a jailable offence under Zambian law.
THE Central Board of Health (CBoH) has placed North-Western and Western provinces on alert following an outbreak of a wild polio virus among refugees entering Zambia.
THE Traditional Healers Association of Zambia (THAZ) should find ways of punishing its members who are misleading their patients that they can be cured of HIV/AIDS by having sex with children, the Child Care and Adoption Society of Zambia has demanded.
A concerted campaign anchored to popular teenage
culture is slowing down the rate of HIV-infection among one of Zambia's most vulnerable demographic groups: older teenagers in urban areas.