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Essay: Essay on HIV and Aids in Africa

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Activity 4 Mind map
Discussion: Perceptions of Africa
Africa is one of the continents with the fastest growing population. Life expectancy is still low due to HIV/AIDS but great achievements are being done to educate the people about the prevention measures and also the use of ARVS. Death rates have declined due to improved medical facilities. Crime rate has also declined because of better education. There is still population movement either voluntarily or forced. Africa`s environment is deteriorating in some parts due to land degradation. There is a lot of soil erosion in many parts of Africa because of lack of soil cover. Deforestation is a major problem because of infrastructure development and farming. There is a considerable degree of variability in Africa`s rainfall. Pests and diseases are water related. Malaria is a major cause of ill health and death in Africa. African industries are still dominated by mining and crude oil in terms of production and exports. Tourism is another sector which has the fastest developing enterprise in Africa and one of the continent`s major investment opportunities. Africa still have the highest fertility rates but there are improvements to the access to health care across the continent which means that people are living longer. Most African countries are working on reducing fertility rates by educating women and girls to use prevention measures and do family planning. This helps girls to stay in school longer and get more education. Food security is one of the targeted goals which need to be achieved to eradicate poverty and hunger in Africa. Education is improving in Africa but they still lack basic facilities. Schools and universities are overcrowded with lack of teachers because they are being lured away to Western countries where they get high salaries and better working conditions. In many countries of Africa education has been made a fundamental human right. Education helps to improve lives and to break the cycle of poverty. Many schools are being built in rural areas in order for children not to walk long distances to school. Some of my perceptions have changed which include better education, population growth and crime rate.
The need for water in the continent of Africa has become a crisis, therefore this research focus on ways on which Africans nations can provide adequate water and sanitation facilities to their citizens in a warming world and challenges which they can face in the implementation of those ideas. The first chapter suggests ways in which Africans nations can provide adequate water. The second chapter suggests ways to provide sanitation facilities and to maintain good health, whereas the third Chapter focus on the challenges which might be faced on the implementation of those ideas. The last chapter gives a recap of all the ideas which have been discussed. (Binns et al., 2012)
Chapter 1
the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has emphasized the need to invest in the development of Africa`s potential water resources to reduce unnecessary suffering ,ensure food security and protect economic gains by effectively managing droughts, floods and desertification. (John Briggs, 2000)There are ways which have been suggested to improve water shortages, these include improvements of wells, building rainwater catchment systems and clean water storage tanks. Efforts made by the United Nations in compliance with the Millennium Development Goals have targeted water scarcity not just for Africa, but globally. Water problems increase poverty, food shortages and also health problems arise. The United Nations and bodies of governments of other countries have formed water charities located around the continent. These charities focus on individual and group donations, which are equipped in different ways and technologies to bring clean water and safe water to different places in Africa. There are ways which provide the people of Africa with clean and useable water; they include digging of wells, rain catchment system, construction of dams and using pumps. The demand for clean water solutions has also prompted the development of some key creative solutions. There arenon-profit organisations which focus on the aspect of drinking water contamination from sewage waste by installing cost effective and relatively maintenance free toilets, such as Drop in the Bucket`s Eco sanitation Flush toilet. The Eco sanitation Flush Toilet also uses no power of any kind, but actually treats sewage rather than just storing it so that the toilet`s output is only water. These solutions are easy to maintain and have an impact for the health of the whole community in terms of their water sources. Some of the solutions to clean water scarcity issues have focused on innovative pump systems , including hand pumps, Water for people`s ‘Play Pumps` and Pump Aids. These designs are constructed to help the communities in getting clean water from wells. The hand pump is easy to operate and to repair it. Play pumps can be described asmultipurpose which means that children can play on the pump which is in the form of a roundabout, at the same time water will be extracted to different stations. As the children will be playing on the roundabout water will be distributed to different places for example toilets, taps and hand washing stations. International aid plays an important job to improve access to water sources. More funding from tariffs and taxes can help meet national goals for sustainable water access. There are private investments by domestic and foreign companies that are taking the responsibility for financing and operating water systems to improve efficiency, reduce water losses, increase supply and enlarge coverage.Households which are poor can be subsidised their connections and implementing innovative payment strategies may remove an important barrier to expanding the water supply network. In rural areas there are also opportunities which include adoption of free standing small scale systems which are capable of treating water, recovering and re-using water. Entrepreneurs should be encouraged to practice simple water purification techniques. Methods of using local ingenuity and simple tools and mechanisms have been shown to improve access to safe drinking water. Recognise the potential to generate revenues from sanitation technologies; revolutionize toilets so that they are as desirable as mobile phones. Another important way of providing water for human consumption is reusing of waste water from the municipality. The water will betreated biologically to a certain point and can be further treated if needed to produce quality water for drinking. Another unconventional source of water is water recycling by industries. Large industrial users recycle a significant amount of water to reduce their water intake .These users will decrease the use of fresh water for industrial processes that do not require water of drinking standard. In many parts of Africa different sanitation programmes are being developed for example the construction of the ventilated improved toilets. These types of toilets are in expensive and hygienic provided that they are well maintained and properly constructed. They do not require a lot of water which makes them user friendly in places where water is scarce.
1) ‘The facts about the global drinking water Crisis’ 2010 Retrieved 18 March 2010.
2) Water scarcity, Risk, and Vulnerability Retrieved 18 March 2013.
5 na.unep.net/’africa_water_atlas_123-17′
The HIV/AIDS epidemic can be described as a natural disaster across the whole continent. It can be declared as an emergency in Africa because it has reached unprecedented proportions. HIV/AIDS has a significant impact on the life expectancy of the population and it now constitutes the most common cause of death and illness in the whole continent. The HIV virus destroys the immune system which makes humans vulnerable to many infections which can lead them to death. Personally i have evaluated the impacts of HIV/AIDS on the social, cultural, political and environmental development of Africa which are as follows:
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa has been described as a crisis that demands the same kind of mobilization and response that would be necessary were a country is at war. The political response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been and remains inadequate, although a dramatic trend towards a more favourable political environment has emerged in the past few years.It took a long period of time for African political leaders to recognise the crisis nature of the epidemic and to formulate ways in which to resolve the crisis and to use all available resources to address the emergency. Uganda is an example of the importance of political commitment and resolve in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Some African countries lacked a political stability which contributed to the failure of generating an effective public sector response to HIV/AIDS; for example South Africa is seen as the most powerful and influential of the African States and its leaders are in a position to influence political thinking across the continent.President Thabo Mbeki disapproved the use of antiretroviral to prevent mother-to-child transmission on the grounds and in contrast to existing scientific evidence that their efficiency had not been established. There are signs which have been shown that political response in Africa has been changing rapidly towards the HIV/AIDS epidemic since 1999. A series of international meetings has highlighted HIV/AIDS and African development, and has significantly heightened the environment for national governments to respond to the epidemic. Several African leaders attended the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in New York in June 2001 and pledged intensified action against HIV/AIDS across the continent. Important events have transpired over the past few years that are rapidly changing the political silence on HIV/AIDS in a relatively short time. A window of opportunity now exists to build and consolidate the political backing needed to deal with HIV/AIDS. It is becoming increasingly clear that it is naive to regard HIV/AIDS as purely a health problem since its negative socio-economic impacts are now well documented. HIV/AIDS has caused high mortality rates.
In many cultures women are the most vulnerable, exploited and are expected to be submissive and are ascribed to a subordinate role in the sexual sphere. Women are expected to be respectful, docile, faithful, and not to be aggressive when it comes to sex. They are also regarded as preferable that they should not show themselves to be well-versed in sexual matters. In many cultures it is seen as male prestige to have many sexual partners and to have sexual experience. It is accepted for man to continue to have multiple sexual partners throughout their life and discussing matters which concern sex are seen to be taboo. It is taken for granted in many societies that boys should have many girlfriends, whereas a girl should stick to one boy. These different sexual expectations put strong pressure on young people. HIV/AIDS is a gendered issue because women in most parts of the developing world due to repressive cultural practices women have no power to negotiate safe sex. Those infected with HIV blame witchcraft as a source of their sickness. Culture contributes to practices, values and attitudes which create stigma and discrimination, gender and other inequalities. Engaging with culture can help take into account the networks, values and relationships that shape people`s lives whether to enrich or constrain them and the factors that affect or limit choices which people, especially women may be able to make about prevention. Many people have fear of being tested because they will be stigmatized by their families and community. Many cultures demand that women should not have any sexual experience before marriage.
On social grounds women and girls have a high risk of contractingthe HIV virus. They do not have the power to negotiate sex or the circumstances of sex. Married women even though they might be faithful to their husbands they remain at risk of contracting the virus because their husbands may not be faithful or they may disapprove the use of condoms. Their male partners are normally older and more sexually experienced. Across Africa male partners have been found to be on average six years older than the women with whom they have intercourse. Aids affect different segments of society in different ways, for example children may have to look after their sick parents, and this will affect the children educationally. Sometimes children become orphans as their parents die of AIDS. There is a stigma and discrimination attached to people with Aids. Individuals with Aids may experience discrimination among the people or community they are associated with and have the potential to be rejected from their community. The United States restrict people infected with the HIV virus to enter their country; this can be seen as a social impact of HIV/AIDS. In many African countries women who are socially disadvantaged are blamed for the disease. Women are stigmatised and sometimes abandoned by their husbands and families. HIV/AIDS epidemic disturbs the life of a community by causing fear, blame and eventually death. The Aids epidemic has had a social impact all over the world. The impact of Aids can evolve into a socio-economic problem, for example in Botswana and South Africa the social impact of Aids is felt economically. In many families when the bread winner of the family gets infected by the virus, they may suffer financially when the virus proves fatal. This causes the house hold per capita income to fall and increases the poverty rates. When parents and family members become sick the children will take responsibility to earn an income, produce food and care for the family members.It is harder for these children to access adequate nutrition, basic health care and housing. HIV positive persons are in many places the subject of prejudice and discrimination because of ignorance about routes of transmission and because of moral judgements risk behaviours. Women and girls are exposed to high-risk of contracting the virus because of caring for HIV patients at home. Some people believe that HIV/AIDS is a consequence of poverty because poor people take risks with their sexual health. Poverty can drive people away from their homes in search of better living conditions which will increase the risk of infection from sex workers.
Migration can be linked to HIV/AIDS due to the movement of people to towns or cities because of natural causes or displacement. People will be over populated in cities and will increase the spread and chances of HIV/AIDS infection to those looking for jobs, better living conditions and those who wish to reunite with their families. Many rural families when they become sick or when they abandon their land, the land becomes degradable and unproductive. HIV/AIDS has affected millions of people especially those in rural areas of developing countries. The health of the local people can also shape individual vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Natural resource scarcity may lead to food insecurity and inadequate diet, which can further undermine the immune system of HIV infected people. Communities are at risk of experiencing the effects of HIV/AIDS when the epidemic strikes. Many small communities with high levels of prostitution have little access to medication and treatment which increase their chances of dying earlier. There is a shortage of labour in the agriculture sector because many people in the rural areas when they are infected they will not be able to work which can lead to a decrease in food production.
In conclusion i can say that there is a progress in slowing down the spread of the HIV infection due to the commitment and involvement of governments, NGOS and people. People are being encouraged to be tested, use condoms and to alter their sexual behaviours. Many people who are infected are taking their antiretroviral drugs and are being taught of prevention measures. Mother to child infection has been reduced.
1. www.prb.org/…/2006/HIVAIDS Sand the Natural Environment.aspx
2. The social Impact of Aids in the United States; National academy Press; 1993.
3. Cultural www.soas.ac.uk/…/15PDSH021.htm/
4. Creative Exchange (2008) CulturalApproach to addressing the social Drivers of HIV/AIDS; http://www.creativeexchange.org/hivaids/briefings.
5.Africa`s Political Response to HIV/AIDS-population Reference Bureau: www.prb.org/…/..
6. UNAIDS, Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: July 2002
7. www.pioneers4change.org/?…im
8 www.earthtimes.org/…/aids-environment…
10 www.iiep.unesco.org/…/user/1-1.pdf
BINNS , T., ALAN, D. & ETIENNE, N. 2012. Africa Diversity and Develepment. Routledge, New York.
JOHN BRIGGS, D. M. 2000. Peri-urban Development in an Era of Structural Adjustment in Africa: The City of Dar es Salaam,Tanzania. Urban Studies, 37, 797-809.

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