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Monday, April 24, 2006

Diseases of the Powerless

Today at the Google news page, I saw a couple of health stories that caught my eye ... one about AIDS and one about malaria. These two diseases, plus tuberculosis, are most often experienced by people in poverty. The diseases are, to some extent, both preventable and treatable, yet they persist. There are many reasons why, but the biggest factor appears to be money.

Tuberculosis .... Over one third of the world's population, according to the World Gealth Organization, are currently infected with TB, and somewhere in the world, a person is newly infected every second. Most cases of TB occur in Asia and Africa, though in the US, the homeless are a prime target for the disease.

Malaria ... It kills approximately 1.3 - 3 million people a year, mainly in the tropics. Africa accounts for almost 90% of the fatalities. The death rate is expected to double in the next 20 years. Prevention of malaria/mosquito bites is simple ... the use of a bed mosquito net, especially a net treated with insecticide ... yet the cost of this item (about $5.00) is beyond the ability of many to pay. Only 1 out of 20 people in Africa own a bed net.

AIDS ... More than 40 million people are living with the disease worldwide. Recently, the number of women HIV-positive has been increasing. As the WHO states ...

Nowhere is the epidemic’s ‘feminization’ more apparent than in sub-Saharan Africa, where 57% of adults infected are women, and 75% of young people infected are women and girls. Several social factors are driving this trend. Young African women tend to have male partners much older than themselves—partners who are more likely than young men to be HIV-infected. Gender inequalities in the region make it much more difficult for African women to negotiate condom use. Furthermore, sexual violence, which damages tissues and increases the risk of HIV transmission, is widespread, particularly in the context of violent conflict .... Increases in the percentage of HIV-infected women also appear to be rising in: North America (25% in 2003, compared to 20% in 2001) .... While it is difficult to compare all the regional factors causing this increase, it is clear that gender inequalities—especially the rules governing sexual relationships for women and men—are at the heart of the matter.

The two articles I saw in the news spoke of the effects povery and the allocation of funds have on the progress, or lack thereof, in fighting these diseases ...

Profit motive hurting AIDS fight, speakers say

World Bank Failed in Fight Against Malaria, Health Experts Say

Check out The Global Fund, which was created to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Learn more about The Global Fund here at this United Nations site.


Blogger PV said...

yep, the problem is belonging to those who do not want to share.this is all.

10:08 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Paula. Yes, and I think one of the groups who could really help, but seem to be dragging their feet because of money are the drug companies.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Darius said...

When the "sole remaining superpower" is all about the bottom line, it sets a poor example.

Ironic that the "peace and love" generation of baby boomers - when we were young - have turned out to be far more materialistic than the WWII generation ever thought of being.

2:05 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Darius. Maybe most people areliberal until they amass enough money to feel protective of it :-)

2:11 PM  
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