Aids in Africa Essay 14

Nicole Nickerson African Politics 11/18/2009 Aids in Africa AIDS is an unfortunate and deadly disease that affects the body which is caused by HIV. The body will try to fight off the disease but as time goes on the body will start to shut down will not be able to fight off things such as bacteria and viruses. Over 58 million people have been infected by this disease and over 22 million have died from AIDS. The epidemic spreads each and everyday, the death toll of this epidemic can not be foreseen until there is a full wave form that is seen.
Africa is one of the most known continents for the AIDS epidemic. It has affected most of the countries since the late 70’s early 80’s. The WHO estimates that 12 million HIV-positive Africans are merely the tip of an iceberg; it also reports, however, that the epidemic has thus far produced only 331,000 cases of AIDS from 1981 to July 1994 (Geshekter, 5). According to the WHO estimate this shows that the 99. 95 percent of the people in Africa do not have AIDS, but 97 percent of those who have HIV were not yet proven to have developed AIDS.
During the initial stages of the epidemic in the 1980s, the disease was concentrated in the so-called AIDS belt in Central Africa which encompassed the then Zaire, Kenya, Zambia, and Uganda (Agyei-Mensah, 442). In the 1990s, the disease began to spread southward to include Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and westward to Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Liberia, and Ghana (Agyei-Mensah, 442). It is now 2009 and there are countries that may not exist anymore due to the AIDS epidemic.

AIDS in Africa has been one of the biggest issues facing African politics since the early 90s. Numerous studies into the AIDS epidemic in Africa have been conducted by Western medical and governmental organizations, as well as African medical and governmental organizations. The inherent difficulties facing the problem of Aids in Africa include unstable or ineffective African governments, poor or non-existent economies that are further hampered by the effects of aids, and cultural differences that create bias both in the reporting of the number of cases of aids and he symptomatic presentation of HIV/AIDS cases. These problems make it very difficult to combat a disease that has taken the lives of many millions of people. South Africa has a stable government but their policies on AIDS have been ineffective. In 1994 the country was criticized for prevarication and confusion on the policies that they set forth to help AIDS patience’s. The government was being blamed for misjudgment, inadequate analysis, and bureaucratic failure.
The country had set up two different prescription policies to fight AIDS which were mobilization/biomedical and nationalist/ameliorative paradigm. Mobilization/biomedical would emphasized society-wide mobilization, political will, and anti-retroviral treatment, while the nationalist/ameliorative focused on poverty, individual responsibility, palliative care, traditional medicine, and appropriate care (Butler, 592). There were problems with both paradigms because of they were underpinned by different assumptions that the government needed to respond to appropriately.
The AIDS policy of 1994-2004 in South Africa was brought forth by the African National Congress, the ANC-aligned United Democratic Front and the National Party government’s ministry of health to bring together a policy to fight AIDS. At the end of 1993 there were over 2,000 cases of AIDS and 500,000 people with HIV; the government had predicted that by 2000 there would be four to seven million cases of HIV with about 60 percent of death rates due to AIDS (Butler, 593). The policy was endorsed by the incoming minister Dr.
Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma who was insufficiently informed by the institutional and social realities of South Africa (Butler, 593). The policy was overestimated just as all other policies were during this time of the economy and of human resources of an incoming government. The competing claims on resources in poor provinces demanded administrative reconfiguration and had undermined implications (Butler, 593). The tenure of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had plagued the finical of the non-government sector and health profession. There were many scandals and corruption while trying to run this policy to help AIDS victims.
In 1997 the president in waiting Thabo Mbeki promised a new outlook on this pandemic by having greater public awareness and new institutional mechanisms to address the challenges of AIDS. Mbeki had put forth new institutions to teach life skills, condom promotion, and a renewed communication strategy but these places were still unstaffed to help show the people how to stay protected. The new treatments were resisted and the government was avoiding funding AVR therapies. South Africa had policies in affect to try and fight the AIDS epidemic such as the two paradigms of mobilization/biomedical and nationalist/ameliorative.
This has caused a shift in alliances and schools of thought. There were many supporters of the mobilization/ biomedical paradigm because it would prevent the transfer of HIV from mother to child and to prevent exposure to prophylaxis for rape victims and health professionals. The supporters were later at the forefront of demands for an upscale ARV treatment program. The ameliorative paradigm was missing the ARV entirely and critics argued that it did not respect the biomedical science. Mbeki had advanced the ameliorative paradigm in 1999 and he failed.
The critics criticized Mbeki for failing to mobilize resources, humans and financial, behind the government response (Butler, 597). Mbeki was criticized for silences more than his words and the attributions of irrational and denials of them. The critics believe that with the delay of ARV treatment this results in denialism. Though the government of South Africa has tried to put out policies to prevent and fight the AIDS epidemic they have failed in many ways. The leaders of South Africa have put forth policies that they believed would work for its country, but they can not celebrate or say they are winning the war on this pandemic.
The government was unable to muster human resources for a universal ARV program due to political and economic defects which has delayed teaching people how to protect themselves from AIDS across the nation. Zimbabwe on the other hand is not stable when it comes to government and has been ineffective on the AIDS pandemic. There are many organizations that can help fight this epidemic but in Zimbabwe due to its wars with itself, it has yet taken any action to put up a fight against this disease. This is the worst hit country on the continent of Africa.
This country fights amongst itself with coups and tribal wars. Instead of the country coming together as one to fight the war on AIDS they rather fight against each other. According to one article it states that the Zimbabwean government had swept this disease under the carpet instead of putting out policies to fight it. President Mugabe publicly acknowledged the national epidemic for the first time in April 1999, when more than 1,200 Zimbabweans were dying each week from the disease (Boone & Batsell, 10).
President Mugabe, although he will occasionally wear an AIDS ribbon, has never taken the sort of leadership stance (Boone & Batsell, 10). In April 1999 AIDS victims were dying 1,200 in a week stance; this goes to show that Mugabe did not take responsibility for his country and make policies to save and protect his people from this disease. The people of Zimbabwe can not speak out against there leader because if they do it would cause war and chaos. The country is already in chaos not only because of loss of life due to AIDS but because of economic and tribal wars.
The leaders of Zimbabwe are not making a fuss about AIDS like most other countries in Africa they are keeping it quite it makes the country seem suspicious. In the case of AIDS NGOs in Zimbabwe, limited political capacity may be due to their origin and mandates (such as providing basic services to highly localized clienteles), funding governmental, church-based, or external sources, or the absence of any organizational hold on or claim to represent their clients and constituents (Boone & Batsell, 16).
The country of Zimbabwe is centralized and ruled by one person, Mugabe is not putting up a fight to control the AIDS epidemic in his country and other countries see this. There are organizations that are willing to help but Mugabe refuses to get help from them such as the NGO. The country will soon have no lives left in it if the leader refuses to put out policies to protect its people from AIDS. Though Zimbabwe and South Africa have been ineffective in the fight on AIDS at least they have put an effort into trying to help its people, where as in he country of Somalia the government is non existent and there are no policies set forth for this country to control AIDS. The country has faced civil war for over 10 years so it is very hard to fight a war on a disease when the country is fighting against one another. The government can not make policies for a disease when they are worried about war with in the country. The government of Somalia has done more harm to its citizens then it has done good, so overall the people of Somalia are not going to trust its government to make policies that are going to benefit their well being.
The people would rather go to a different country and try and survive by other policies than depend on the government to protect them and teach them about the AIDS epidemic. The country of Somalia is failing due to its own economic and warfare problems. The only way this country will have a population in years to come is if another country steps in and takes control to not only help with the AIDS problem but also stop the civil war that has gone on for over 10 years.
Uganda is one country that has refused to back down on fight the AIDS epidemic. AIDS prevention and education programs have lowered the HIV infection rate (Boone & Batsell, 9). Uganda where AIDS has been curbed most dramatically, the infection rate estimated to be near thirty percent in 1991 is now estimated at around twelve percent (Boone & Batsell, 9). In June 2000, UNAIDS Director Peter Piot called for U. S. $2 billion to provide for more Uganda-style prevention and awareness campaigns in Africa (Boone & Batsell, 9).
This shows that even a country with poverty and economic problems can succeed in fighting AIDS if the policies are enforced. Some critics do not understand that Uganda is fighting AIDS and other countries such as Zimbabwe and South Africa are having such a hard time control the AIDS epidemic. The reason Uganda is doing so well is because President Yoweri Museveni adopted a nationwide plan to combat AIDS in the mid-1980s, when Uganda was facing the most staggering increase of AIDS cases of any country in the world (Boone & Batsell, 9).
The most distinguishing feature of Uganda’s AIDS program, a characteristic which has yet to be matched by any other African country, is sustained political commitment at the highest levels-even the health minister took to the streets to distribute condoms (Boone & Batsell, 9). The President stood behind his country by taking charge and turning a horrible disease into something to learn about and protect his people from. He did not just sweep it under the carpet like the leader of Zimbabwe. As the years go on Africa’s economy gets worse by the days due to AIDS.
The two major effects on the economy due to AIDS is reduction in labor supplies and increased cost. The loss of adults at their most productive years will affect over economic out put and if AIDS is more prevalent among the economic elite, then the impact could be worse then the number of deaths caused by AIDS (Bollinger & Stover, 3). The cost of AIDS will affect the people of these countries due to lost time from illness, care for orphans, and costs for the company to have to find more workers.
Then there is fact of having little money and having to cut into savings which reduces investment and could lead to significant reduction in economic growth. The economic effects of AIDS will be felt first by individuals and their families, then ripple outwards to firms and businesses and the macro-economy (Bollinger & Stover, 4). The economic impact of AIDS on house holds will cause extreme damage. The member of the family who gets sick and is the main provider for the family will lose income. The medical bills will begin to dwindle in more and more causing debt putting the household into more carnage.
Mother or daughters will begin to miss work and school to take care of the ill person, which also cause less of an income into the family. Death results in permanent loss of income, funeral cost as well as removal of children from schooling to save on experience which in the long run causes loss of future expansion. There is a backlog for those children who are orphans and are suffering from AIDS. The planning process for the government in providing this housing is made more complicated, and thus more lengthy, through the impact of HIV/AIDS (Bollinger & Stover, 5).
Although fewer units will probably be needed because of AIDS deaths, the structure of households may change, making planning more difficult: households may become headed by children; households may be even poorer than before and so unable to pay for even the most basic services; and the number of people per household may decrease (Bollinger & Stover, 5). AIDS does not just impact households it will over time impact agriculture, firms, and other economic sectors such as health, transport, mining, education, and water. The macroeconomic impact on AIDS is the most difficult assess.
Most studies have found that estimates of the macroeconomic impacts are sensitive to assumptions about how AIDS affects savings and investment rates and whether AIDS affects the best-educated employees more than others. Few studies have been able to incorporate the impacts at the household and firm level in macroeconomic projections (Bollinger & Stover, 11). According to Bollinger and Stover a recent set of projections of the macroeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa estimated that under the high impact scenario, the population size would be 22% smaller in 2010 than it would have been without AIDS.
Without AIDS, the model predicts that the population would be about 59 million people in 2010, while under the high impact scenario; the population would be only 46 million people. The same model predicts that life expectancy will decrease by 45 percent under the high impact scenario, from 62 years without the impact of AIDS to 34 years under the high impact scenario. There are things that can be done to control AIDS and help the economy of Africa from being destroyed completely.
A few examples are mitigating affects of AIDS on poverty, making programs to address specific problems, and preventing new infections (Bollinger & Stover, 15). The government not only has to deal with the policy making to fight AIDS and deal with the different economic struggles that it faces because of AIDS but it also has to deal with the different cultural issues that makes it difficult for the government to use its sources to combat the problem. For example in the country of Rwanda there is a cultural difference between the Hutu and Tutsi.
These two civilizations dislike each other due to governmental issues and due to the genocides of one another in past years. It makes it hard for countries like this to be able to come up with a policy that is going to work for everyone when they are fighting one another. Then there are some cultures that refuse to use condoms which does not make it easy to protect people from developing AIDS if they have more then one partner. A country has to have the ability to control its people and educate them on this disease because if not then those countries will end up having no population or may not exist any more.
Then there is the case where some cultures people will not take medicine that is not natural. An example of that is priest or clergymen claiming that there is a miracle cure for AIDS but in some countries commercials of the sort have been banned from being played. For many people living with HIV/AIDS, their faith also extends to the skills of traditional doctors and herbalists, while for others their religious faith overlaps with non-Christian or non- Muslim belief in traditional cosmology and the spirit world as expressed through witchdoctors (Love, 645).
In one sense, the strength and pervasiveness of these institutions may be regarded as a response to exclusion from Western scientific bio-medical treatments: an exclusion determined by political and economic structures often with global tentacles as outlined above, but in another, they also reflect the depth and institutional complexity of ‘traditional’ societies in their negotiation with externally introduced change (Love, 645).
This is more then likely very frustrating to the government if they spend all this money to make policies for people to not take the medicine to help ease their pain but instead take natural substances to believe they are being cured when they are being hoaxed. Africa has a long way to go for its countries to over come this epidemic. There are many problems within these countries that need to be taken care of if they are going to succeed in making policies that will teach and protect its populations.
The countries of South Africa and Zimbabwe are well known for there failing policies to fight AIDS. South Africa is better off then Zimbabwe because it actually tries to make policies to help its people where as Zimbabwe would rather sweep it away and pretend that it is not a problem. It seems that Somalia may be lost cause when it comes to making policy on AIDS. This country has more problems dealing with is civil war then dealing with the deaths of millions of people due to AIDS.
The only way this country would be able to survey or have some type of population in the future is if another country came in and took over the government or organization that is willing to h stop the war and focuses more on the problems of its economy and health problems. Uganda is the one country that some critics don’t understand how it is doing so well on policy making for the AIDS epidemic. Uganda has kept HIV infection rates in check through aggressive, state-initiated public education campaigns.
The governments that have generally dealt openly with the AIDS challenge Uganda have tried (albeit with uneven commitment and success) to cultivate broad legitimacy by encouraging some grassroots participation in the political process (Boone & Batsell, 18). Organizations have tried to use Uganda along with other countries as an example for countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe which are having a rough time with control AIDS. AIDS has taken a toll on economic stability in all countries in Africa. The more AIDS cases that are known the more the countries become more poverty stricken.
More children are left with out parents each and everyday due to AIDS, this also in time will live the child with out a home and living on the streets causing more poverty. The government can only provide so much for children, there are thousands of children who are orphans due to AIDS and the government can no support all of them. Political leaders need to learn from countries like Uganda so their economy will not deteriorate more then what it already has. The cultural outlook on AIDS is a very difficult one for the government of countries to deal with.
If the country spends money on policies that people are not going to recognize or live by then the country will fail and over time there will be no life. It is understandable that certain people live by their tribal cultures but if it means life over death then they should succumb to what the government is doing to save lives. Millions of dollars are spend each year to find a cure to AIDS, but if these people live by their cultures way and do not believe in western science then they will fall causing the end of their tribe and culture.
There have been numerous studies into the AIDS epidemic in Africa have been conducted by Western medical and governmental organizations, as well as African medical and governmental organizations. The inherent difficulties facing the problem of Aids in Africa include unstable or ineffective African governments, poor or non-existent economies that are further hampered by the effects of aids, and cultural differences that create bias both in the reporting of the number of cases of aids and the symptomatic presentation of HIV/Aids cases.
These problems make it very difficult to combat a disease that has taken the lives of many millions of people. Based on the facts in this paper if the countries of Africa do not form good policies or come together as one unit then not only will the countries loss lives the whole continent will become a blur. Work Cited Agyei-Mensah, Samuel, ‘Twelve Years of HIV/ AIDS in Ghana: Puzzles of Interpretation’ Canadian Journal of African Studies 35. 3. (2001) pp. 441-72. Bollinger, Lori & Stover, John. ‘The Economic Impact of AIDS in South Africa’ 999. pp. 1-16. Boone, Catherine & Batsell, Jake, ‘Politics and AIDS in Africa: Research Agendas in Political Science and International Relations’ Africa Today 48. 2. (2001). pp. 3-33 Butler, Anthony, ‘South Africa’s HIV/AIDS Policy, 1994-2004: How Can it be Explained? ’ African Affairs 104, (2005). pp 591-614. Geshekter, Charles, ‘Outbreak? AIDS, Africa, and the Medicalization of Poverty’ Tradition 67. (1995) pp. 4-14. Love, Roy, ‘HIV/AIDS in Africa: Links, Livelihoods & Legacies’ Review of African Political Economy 31. 102. (2004). pp. 639-48

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