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[afro-nets] AIDS In Africa Mostly Caused By Unprotected Sex... (8)

  • Subject: [afro-nets] AIDS In Africa Mostly Caused By Unprotected Sex... (8)
  • From: Ngwa Valentine <vcngwa@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2004 20:26:10 +0000

AIDS In Africa Mostly Caused By Unprotected Sex... (8)

Nance offers solid arguments by saying "Public awareness and
discussion of health care risks for HIV are crucial to the evo-
lution and application of effective solutions" and that "worka-
ble solutions will come from the people who are on the front-
lines as patients and healthcare workers, who know their condi-
tions and risks, and who will be the ones to implement solu-

Lack of public awareness to health care risks, lack of implemen-
tation of the universal precaution guidelines and also lack of
protective bodies to the health of patients amongst others are
aspects I found very rife in Cameroon. In the light of transmis-
sibility of HIV and other 'blood borne' pathogens, this is to-
tally unacceptable. Transmission of HIV and other blood borne
pathogens through unsafe healthcare is a stark reality and we
can produce as many guidelines as possible but if we don?t get
to the implementation stage then they end up being mere pieces
of papers while the common man suffers.

In as much as international bodies have a role to play in this,
it is also the responsibility of all to implement what we, in
scientific discussions, accept to be the right path. In this
light, certain situations keep coming to mind. As late as 1999,
there were certain Mission hospitals in Cameroon carrying out
bizarre practices like transfusing patients with blood not
screened for Hepatitis B, because of cost! I am talking about
Hospitals with the sophistication that attracts Orthopaedic sur-
geons, General surgeons, anaesthetists and physicians from
Europe and America to come there periodically and practice.

This is not all; there is the widespread 'institutionalization
of quackery'; allowing staff to do procedures they are not
trained for, sadly so in situations where there are many trained
ones around. It is common sense that someone not trained will
not understand the universal precaution. Even those with an
idea, understand it as a means of protecting infections from pa-
tients to themselves and not from patient to patient or from
themselves to patients. The list goes on and on; in a mission
institution, which people regard as a moral institution is to
show how morally bankrupt we can be. What better practice then
can one get from the health centres scattered all over the coun-
try, the many private-for­profit clinics dotted here and there,
the many public set-ups that have almost completely lost their
purpose and the many quacks whose annoying presence epitomises
today?s healthcare system?

What is more horrible is that knowledgeable people look the
other way while such havoc is being committed! If Africa has to
see the fight against HIV as a war, then the standing orders
have to be followed strictly in military style; failure to com-
ply necessitates a 'court-marshall'. The implementation of the
rules have to be the responsibility of all and not just a few
who will be over-ridden by a corrupt gang and everything becomes
business as usual; certainly not just the WHO alone. We have to
decry such practices else we will continue to be plagued by hos-
pital acquired disasters of gross enormity.

Valentine C. Ngwa
Bradford, UK