HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.
“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at email@example.com. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 89). This blog is a continuation of the review of ENDING GLOBAL POVERTY: A GUIDE TO WHAT WORKS by Stephen C. Smith, published in 2005.
FIGHTING HIV/AIDS: THE AIDS SUPPORT ORGANIZATION, UGANDA
Approaching that of the bubonic plague of Medieval Europe
Now the leading cause of death of working-age adults in the developing world, if unchecked AIDS may condemn Sub-Saharan Africa, the hardest hit region, to grinding poverty for at least another generation. In 2004, some 42 million people worldwide were infected with HIV, with over 34 million of these in Sub-Saharan Africa. There the prevalence rate is now estimated at 8.8% of the adult population, with women representing 55% of the infected. The impact of the disease is approaching that of the bubonic plague of Medieval Europe.
Nearly 22 million people have died from AIDS
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, by 2002, nearly 22 million people had died from AIDS since the disease was identified in the 1980s, with the large majority of deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout the region AIDS is now the leading cause of death of adult males in economically active years. Although infectious childhood diseases still kill far more people in developing countries, AIDS strikes those who have successfully run this gauntlet of child killers. Their societies need the energies and skills of precisely the part of the population most afflicted.
In the developing countries as a whole AIDS is primarily transmitted by heterosexual intercourse. In addition, infected blood and needles, both by drug abusers and in hospitals, and perinatal transmission (from mother to fetus) play significant roles.
In low-income countries average survival once AIDS symptoms set in has been less than one year.
Lifesaving drugs are still not available to the overwhelming majority of the infected in Africa and South Asia because of limited availability of low-priced drugs, slow implementation, and inadequate health system infrastructure to get the medicines to patients in these countries. In the absence of these drugs, treatments have generally been limited to aspirin, antibiotics for infections, and cortisone for skin rashes.
Prodding government into action
Some NGOs are responding to AIDS with innovations that have resulted in a significant humanitarian and poverty alleviation impact. Uganda was the first country to be hit hard with an AIDS pandemic, but, partly through the work of NGOs, the country became a model for how to contain such an explosion of HIV and to treat its victims with dignity. The AIDS Support Organization, or TASO, has played a crucial role in treatment, family assistance, and counseling. It has been instrumental in prodding government into action, and helping Uganda respond to AIDS.
Live positively with AIDS
A Uganda-based and locally governed NGO, TASO was founded by Noerine Kaleeba in 1987, after her husband died of AIDS contracted through a blood transfusion. Its goal is to help people to “live positively with AIDS.” Patient testimonials suggest that the counseling makes a big impact on how people live after learning they are HIV positive. Some of these patients have themselves become activists in the organization, and many other TASO staff and volunteers are also people living with HIV/AIDS.
Successful efforts to disseminate AIDS education
Uganda-based TASO was the first indigenous NGO in Africa to respond to the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, and it has received accolades for its pioneering and successful efforts to disseminate AIDS education to the local grassroots levels and relieve the suffering of AIDS patients. TASO won the King Baudouin International Development Prize in 1994. Recently TASO has garnered much attention, with visits by U.S. Secretary of State Powell in 2001 and by President Bush in2003.
The AIDS Support Organization has played a crucial role in Uganda’s long fight against AIDS, in the fields of treatment, family assistance, and counseling, as well as general education. Although entirely indigenous, it has received substantial outside funding.