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AFRO-NETS> Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Thu, 9 Aug 2001
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Thu, 9 Aug 2001
- From: Cecilia Snyder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 15:37:39 -0400 (EDT)
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Thu, 9 Aug 2001
* Number of African AIDS Orphans, Orphan Centers Growing While Tradi-
tional Family Support Breaks Down
* South African Health Minister Says Violence 'Rivals' AIDS as Cause
of Death for South Africans
* Zambian Government Considers Importing Low-Cost AIDS Drugs
Number of African AIDS Orphans, Orphan Centers Growing While Tradi-
tional Family Support Breaks Down
The number of African orphans has steadily grown since the early
1990s as parents have died from AIDS-related complications or aban-
doned their children due to their illness, giving rise to orphanages
often funded by American charities, the Christian Science Monitor/
Washington Times reports. Prior to the onset of the AIDS epidemic, 2%
of children in the developing world were orphans. Now, largely be-
cause of the effects of the disease, 10% of children in sub-Saharan
Africa are parentless, according to U.N. estimates. Traditionally,
extended family took in children when their parents died, but the
"huge" number of orphans and the stigma associated with AIDS have
broken down traditional family practices, causing many people to turn
orphaned relatives away. "Fewer and fewer relations are willing to
take in orphans," Roselyn Mutemi Wangahu, who led a UNICEF study on
AIDS orphans in Kenya, said. Those who do take in relatives often
treat them as "second-class members of the family," sometimes abusing
the children or "forc[ing]" them to work. However, most people Wan-
gahu surveyed said they "preferred institutionalizing" the children.
"They've realized they are not able to cope anymore," she explained.
According to Clive Beckenham, director of the New Life Home in Nai-
robi, Kenya, more than 90% of the infants brought to his center
"eventually test negative" for HIV.
A Rise in Children's Homes
The large number of orphans, coupled with the lack of familial sup-
port, has given rise to many new orphanages throughout sub-Saharan
Africa, mostly funded by American charities, the Monitor/Times re-
ports. Feed the Children, an Oklahoma-based group, recently opened
the $300,000 Frances Jones Abandoned Baby Center in Nairobi. Almost
all of the money for the center came from the United States. Interna-
tional Children's Care, a development and relief agency based in
Washington state, is opening five orphanages near Ndolo, a copper-
mining town in Zambia, while Gospa Missions, a Pennsylvania-based
missionary group, is raising money to build a facility in Ogoja, Ni-
geria. Despite the wave of new centers, the need remains for more.
"If we promoted this facility today, we would have it full tomorrow,"
Ian Harris, international director for Feed the Children, said, add-
ing that without advertising, they have had inquiries from Mozam-
bique, Zimbabwe and South Africa about setting up similar centers
there. "It's something I don't think governments have come to terms
with," he said. Most of the orphanages are not meant to be "long-
term" homes for the children, as many of the centers have staff de-
voted to finding foster homes or adoptive arrangements for the chil-
dren. Several homes, such as the Frances Jones Center, are also in-
cluding community outreach programs on HIV prevention as part of
their services (Crawley, Christian Science Monitor/Washington Times,
South African Health Minister Says Violence 'Rivals' AIDS as Cause of
Death for South Africans
South African Health Minister Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said yes-
terday that new mortality statistics show that violence "rivals AIDS
as a threat to South African society," Reuters reports. Tshabalala-
Msimang said that a three-year study of the country's mortality sta-
tistics reveals that approximately 25% of all deaths are "non-
natural" and due to causes such as homicide, accident and suicide.
The release of the statistics comes two days after South African
President Thabo Mbeki said in a BBC interview that violence, not
HIV/AIDS, was the "largest single cause of death" among South Afri-
cans and the "greatest threat to the country." But Tshabalala-Msimang
said that statistics on AIDS-related deaths "were not yet accurate
enough to compare with data on violent deaths." She added, "Are we
perhaps not being sidetracked and only looking at one social condi-
tion at the expense of others. I am not saying that issues of HIV and
AIDS should be relegated simply because we are now talking about vio-
lence, but it does demonstrate the magnitude of the problem [of vio-
lence]." UNAIDS estimates that between 180,000 and 250,000 adults
died from AIDS-related infections in 1999. Tshabalala-Msimang said
that 60,000 accidental deaths occurred in the country during that
same time period, but added that the government has "no reliable sta-
tistics on ... causes of death" (Boyle, Reuters, 8/8).
Mbeki's Statements 'Disappointing'
The South African political party United Democratic Movement said
that Mbeki's claim that violence is the leading cause of death in
South Africa "play[s] down the horrific scale of suffering and death
that HIV/AIDS wreaks on South Africa," SAPA/BBC Monitoring reports.
UDM spokesperson Annelize van Wyk said that Mbeki "conveniently
grabbed the issue of violence to avoid discussions on HIV/AIDS, with-
out giving proper attention to the link between violence and
HIV/AIDS." Van Wyk said, "[I]t is disappointing that the president of
the country would only admit to the astronomical rate of violence and
murder in South Africa, in an effort to divert attention from another
of his ill-considered positions," referring to Mbeki's questioning of
the causal link between HIV and AIDS (SAPA/BBC Monitoring, 8/7).
Zambian Government Considers Importing Low-Cost AIDS Drugs
Zambian government officials on Wednesday met with representatives
from the World Health Organization to discuss ways for the country to
import cheaper AIDS drugs, Reuters reports. The Zambian National
HIV/AIDS Council and Central Board of Health met with the WHO to "map
out policies to curb the spread" of HIV through treatment. Currently,
only private hospitals and chemists sell antiretroviral drugs, but
they "charge prices that ordinary Zambians ... cannot afford." The
Zambian government has "not yet officially allowed" antiretrovirals
to be purchased for its medical centers because of the drugs' high
cost and "the limited ability of the state health sector" to dispense
the drugs and monitor "complicated" treatment regimes. Dr. Golden
Bola, director-general of the HIV/AIDS council, said, "We have
reached a point where we have to seriously put in place measures that
will protect both the infected and affected. Sitting back and waiting
for Zambians to reform or change their behavior is just not helping,
the disease is spreading" (Nampito, Reuters, 8/8). In April, GlaxoS-
mithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co. offered to "slash"
the prices of antiretroviral drugs used in Zambia if the country
agrees to keep the drugs from being smuggled out to other nations
(Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/19).
The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org,
a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, by National
Journal Group Inc. ¸ 2001 by National Journal Group Inc. and Kaiser
Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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