It's not exactly news to any of us but...
Health-Malawi: AIDS Is a Major
Challenge to Development
Inter Press Service
LILONGWE, (Jan. 4) IPS - The acquired immune deficiency
syndrome (AIDS) is the most critical
challenge to Malawi's development with at least 25 percent
of the urban workforce likely to die from
the disease in the next 10 years, according to a new
Conducted by the Malawi government and the World Bank, the
new AIDS assessment study, says the
hardest hit sectors include education and health, where
the annual personnel death rate is now three
percent, six times higher than the predicted 0.5 percent.
Malawi, with a population of 12 million people, reported
its first AIDS case in 1985. By the end of
1997, nearly one million Malawians had tested positive for
the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
which causes AIDS.
According to the National AIDS Control Program, two
million Malawians will test HIV positive by
the year 2010.
The new assessment study says that Malawi's average life
expectancy, which was predicted to rise to
57 years in 2010, will now drop to 44 years. Now life
expectancy is at 43 years.
"The epidemic has now reached crisis proportions," says
Health Minister Harry Thomson.
"Productivity and growth of the labor force will fall,
while health expenditure will increase."
The estimated financial cost of caring for AIDS patients
until they die is estimated between $200-$900,
almost four times the country's per capital income, and
much higher than the per capital health budget.
Health Minister Thomson says in the next 10 years, 70,000
children will be orphaned annually, while
the annual number of people with full-blown AIDS will
reach 100,000. "The unfortunate part is that
the most affected young Malawian adults happen to be the
ones upon whom the development of this
country depends," he says.
The challenge of AIDS prevention in Malawi is to move
beyond awareness to behavioral change.
Although Malawians begin sexual activity at an early age,
overall condom use, for example, remains
In a 1996 survey by the country's Ministry of Economic
Planning and Development, only six percent
of men and three percent of women reported condom use for
their most recent sexual encounter.
During the same survey, only 22 percent of women aged
15-19 and 37 percent of those aged 30-34
who had heard of AIDS knew at least two ways of avoiding
Malawi also only imports 18.7 million condoms annually,
far below that of other Southern African
countries like Zimbabwe which imports about 65 million
condoms annually for public sector
At a Consultative Group meeting in Lilongwe last month,
donors asked Malawi to incorporate the
dimension of HIV/AIDS in all of its development programs.
"The urgency of the AIDS situation calls for greatly
strengthened political leadership and increased
investment in behavior change interventions," said Barbara
Kafka, World Bank Country Director for
Kafka added that the National AIDS secretariat, now under
the Ministry of Health, lacks an adequate
operating budget and staff, and might be better placed
outside any particular ministry "so as to better
catalyze responses in all sectors, not only health."
The United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is
helping Malawi to develop a five-year
(1999-2004) National Strategic Plan that will guide
planning and implementation of HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident
Coordinator Terence Jones says the plan
should be used to build momentum and the context in which
leaders at community, regional and
national level can discuss HIV prevention and mitigation
"Unless these partnerships -- the political support, the
funding, the goods and services, and the people
-- in other words the resources, are adequately mobilized,
our initiatives to stem the epidemic will be
hindered," Jones adds.
- But good info for my childhoods class which will be doing projects on child labor. Maybe having the info will spur people to change things. I still hold out hope...How's the home solar project??KCOn Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 9:26 AM, Christine Chumbler <wartpiggy@...> wrote:
Nothing to be proud of here, I'm afraid.
Malawi's child tobacco pickers 'poisoned by nicotine'Aug 24 2009 07:05Children in Malawi who are forced to work as tobacco pickers are exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day, an investigation has found.
Child labourers as young as five are suffering severe health problems from a daily skin absorption of up to 54mg of dissolved nicotine, according to the international children's organisation Plan.
Malawian tobacco is found in the blend of almost every cigarette smoked in the West. The low-grade, high-nicotine tobacco is often used as a filler by manufacturers, reflecting a long-term global shift in production.
Tobacco farms in America declined by 89% between 1954 and 2002. Three-quarters of production has migrated to developing countries, with Malawi the world's fifth biggest producer.
Seventy percent of its export income comes from tobacco and the country is economically dependent on it.
Plan cites research showing that Malawi has the highest incidence of child labour in Southern Africa, with 88,9% of five to 14-year-olds working in the agricultural sector. It is estimated that more than 78 000 children work on tobacco estates -- some up to 12 hours a day, many for less than 1p an hour and without protective clothing.
Plan's researchers invited 44 children from tobacco farms in three districts to take part in a series of workshops. They revealed a catalogue of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and spoke about the need to work to support themselves and their families and pay school fees.
The children reported common symptoms of green tobacco sickness (GTS), or nicotine poisoning, including severe headaches, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, coughing and breathlessness.
"Sometimes it feels like you don't have enough breath, you don't have enough oxygen," one child said. "You reach a point where you cannot breathe because of the pain in your chest. Then the blood comes when you vomit. At the end, most of this dies and then you remain with a headache."
GTS is a common hazard of workers coming into contact with tobacco leaves and absorbing nicotine through their skin, particularly when harvesting. It is made worse by humid and wet conditions, which are prevalent in Malawi, as residual moisture on the leaves helps nicotine to be absorbed quicker.
Everyday symptoms of GTS are more severe in children than adults as they have not built up a tolerance to nicotine through smoking and because of their physical size. There is a lack of research into the long-term effects of GTS in children, but experts believe that it could seriously impair their development.
Neal Benowitz, professor of medicine, psychiatry and biopharmaceutical sciences at California University in San Francisco, said: "Numerous animal studies have shown that administration of nicotine during infancy and adolescence produces long-lasting changes in brain structure and function, as well as behavioural changes that are not seen when nicotine is administered to adults.
"The brain of a child or adolescent is particularly vulnerable to adverse neurobehavioural effects of nicotine exposure."
Plan called on Malawi's government to enforce existing child labour and protection laws and on plantations to provide safer, fairer working conditions for those children forced to work. It demanded that multinational tobacco companies scrutinise their suppliers far more closely and follow their own corporate responsibility guidelines.
Macdonald Mumba, Plan Malawi's child rights adviser, said: "This research shows that tobacco estates are exploiting and abusing children who have a right to a safe working environment.
"Plan is calling for better enforcement of child labour laws and harsher punishment for employers who break them. These children are risking their health for 11p a day." - guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009
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"...for f*ck’s sake, the only thing that privilege is good for is to try to help other people." –Junot Diaz