AIDS and Politics in African
Aside from Malaria and other life threatening diseases, AIDS constitutes one of the major concerns within the African continent. One of the reasons behind this concern is the fact that HIV / AIDS is responsible for causing many deaths in this part of the world. With close to 70% of people living with HIV / AIDS in the entire globe coming from Africa, the magnitude of the problem in the continent cannot be overemphasized (UNAIDS 1). Political participation in matters as serious as this cannot go without being noticed. Politics in Africa is part of the HIV / AIDS epidermis and plays a role not only in the prevention of the diseases but also in its causes among other dynamics. The politics of Aids however is not limited to government and political entities and neither does it emanate from Africa alone. The participation of such bodies as the Non- Governmental Organizations and trade unions, both from within and outside Africa is quite obvious. In addition, foreign governments are also involved in the politics that surround the issues of HIV / AIDS within the African continent and their impactss of substantial measure.
AIDS and Politics in African
According to Chinua Akukwe (p1), decades of the fight of the AIDS epidemic in the African region seemed to have done little in helping the society become less impacted by the disease. In spite of the fact that the region represents just a mere 14.5% of the world population, the fact that it represents a whopping 70% of those infected by the condition quite wants (UNAIDS 1). What is also so worrying is fact that the same causes which existed in the past are still affecting the society, albeit having reduced in some instances. Cultural, literacy, economic, and social factors are some of the phenomenon known to propagate the problems. In spite of the fact that politics ought to play a role in the prevention and containment of the situation, the major role t hat the dynamic plays in encouraging the problems associated with the disease is quite confusing.
Today, all the political leaders in the African region have become aware of the fact that it is significant for them to be viewed as contributing in some important initiatives both at the national and the international level. This participation is so much pegged on the problem of HIV / AIDS in the region (Akukwe 1). This attitude goes beyond the African political leaders. Other stakeholders in the domestic and international arena are also known to be so much aware of this factor. These entities include the likes of, multinational corporations, foreign governments, Nongovernmental Organizations; both domestic and international, religious groupings and labour unions, just to mention but a few.
It is so amusing to note that, in spite of the myriad of campaign against the disease, more so from Non-Governmental Organizations and trade unions, nothing of value seems to have happened for close to two decades. According to Thomas Goliber, the attention that the disease seems to attract from the various entities seems not to be enough. In the region, the condition of the disease has many times been considered to be a crisis which warrants the kind of mobilization, often seen whenever nations are at war (Goliber 1). This suggestion has never seen the light of day as many leaders in the African continent and other nations have remained inadequate and superficial in their response towards the HIV / AIDS Epidemic in the continent.
The many entities have, in the pretext of campaigning against the spread of the disease and contributing towards helping the society, only used their national and international platforms to gain attentions, much so for their own benefits. A case in point is the South African case where aids prevalence is the highest at the global level. In the year 1997, the president of South Africa generated a global controversy owing to his government’s position in sabotaging campaigns against the spread of the disease within the region. Thabo Mbeki and his government had their image in crisis when they were accused of wasting tax payer’s money on a musical show which they intended to employ in dissemination the message of prevention of HIV / AIDS. Their role in supporting a treatment, later discovered to be of no benefit to AIDS the patients was not received positively at both the local and international arena. The same government of South Africa, in the year 1998, found itself in the limelight after receiving strong criticism for blocking the use of antiretroviral, components which have, for years, been used for making the lives of HIV / AIDS patients and those affected bearable in the society (Fassin & Schneider 1).
Like Thabo Mbeki, a number of African Political figures in the African region have acted in a way to demystify campaigns aimed at containing the effects of HIV / AIDS within the continent. By rebuffing the linkage between HIV and AIDS and favouring alternative theories for the prevention of the condition, the politicians have massively thwarted t he efforts of other entities in the containment of the disease and its impacts in the African region (Fassin & Schneider 1). Their perceptions have, in some cases, been strongly observed by their supporters w ho have responded to undermining campaigns aimed at preventing the spread of the disease and managing its effects among those who have been affected.
Another constraint which associates with that of politics is the economic situations of nations and the capacity of nations to funds programs geared towards the prevention of the spread of the disease within countries. Lack of funds in African nations to fully support such programs is a common phenomenon. Among other factors, this lack of funds is always triggered by issues of poverty and corruptions, all which trickle down to the political performance of the regions. Due to poor politics, nations African nations do find themselves in economic difficulty which disables them from funding programs as significant as those associated with AIDS prevention. Mismanagement of funds, brought in by international bodies in preventing the spread of the disease has also extended the problem of funding for such programs. Funds which land in the hands of corrupt government and departmental officers only serve to fulfil the selfish interests of the officers, while the AIDS victims and their relatives are left to fend for themselves and worry about their welfares.
A number AIDS expert, from all through the globe, has quantified the HIV / AIDS epidemic in Africa as a factor of a number of social and economic issues. Of these factors, poverty takes the greatest blame for the uncontrollable spread of the pandemic. According to various reports, inadequacy of appropriate health information systems, healthcare facilities and health education in the region are some of the major contributors to the ever increasing rate in the spread of HIV / AIDS in the region (Cook 7). All these problems are a factor of the high poverty rate much of which can be blamed on corruption and poor political structures. Provided that politics in Africa are not positive, corruption will continue to advance and such initiatives hindered from seeing any progress in the entire region.
Response to the AIDS pandemic in the African Region has also witness the participation of foreign governments, Non-Governmental Organizations and humanitarian bodies among others. According to Nicholas Cook (pp 10-12), the response to HIV / AIDS pandemic in Africa has been very tremendous, the lack of tangible progress in the region notwithstanding. Cook indicates that, working in Africa, to prevent the spread of the condition and help the affected populations continue with life normally have included various parties. Various Non-Governmental Organizations, Humanitarian Bodies, Donor Governments and local international church groups have been on the ground in Africa to advance programs aimed at helping the region with respect to the pandemic. The activities of these groups have always been in the forms of; the institution of prevention programs, restructuring attempts towards harm already done by the disease to families, distribution of Antiretroviral, provision of information on the modes of spread of the disease, professional counselling services, voluntary testing procedures and distribution of condoms, among other initiatives (Cook 11).
Although most stakeholders report their successes in implementing their programs, controversies over their real intentions have never failed to crop up in numerous cases. In the year 2004 for instance, reports of colossal flaws over conducts of United States national institute of health in some parts of Uganda. Claims of non-disclosure of dire medicine reactions in the study of Nevirapine cropped up in a reported brought forward by the Associated Press (Cook 11).
In parts of Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic political motives continue to fuel the spread of AIDS. The Lord’s Resistance Army led by rebel Joseph Kony terrorize villages in these countries and rape women. The men in these groups do not have access to proper healthcare. In the forests…