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  • Christine Chumbler
    subject It s not exactly news to any of us but... Health-Malawi: AIDS Is a Major Challenge to Development Inter Press Service 04-JAN-99 LILONGWE, (Jan. 4) IPS
    Message 1 of 102 , Jan 5, 1999

      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
      HIV transmission.

      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
      distribution alone.

      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
      of impact.

      "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.
      10:10 AM
    • kristen cheney
      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
      Message 102 of 102 , Aug 24, 2009
        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??

        On 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 07:05

        Children 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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