AIDS in Africa
- I have a new hero:
"Catholic Bishops to Fight AIDS"
South African Press Association (07.27.01)
Catholic bishops from across southern Africa gathered on
Wednesday at St. Peter's Seminary in Garsfontein, Pretoria, to
attend the Southern African Catholic Bishop's Conference (SACBC).
Bishop Reginald Cawcutt, spokesperson, said the six-day
conference was aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. A
substantial part of the conference's discussions will focus on
the AIDS and a proposal that the church reconsider its ban on
condoms to combat the spread of disease, he said.
Almost five million South Africans are HIV-infected. Earlier
this month in the United States, Rustenburg Bishop Kevin Dowling
proposed that the church's ban on condoms be lifted, saying AIDS
was killing so many people he felt he could not duck the issue.
Dowling was supported in his proposal by the Catholic newspaper
Southern Cross, which said condoms provided one way of stemming
the AIDS pandemic. The newspaper called on the church to
reconcile its total ban on contraception with the philosophy of
the sanctity of life.
SACBC President Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said Dowling's
statement would be weighed against not only the church's
teachings, but also scientific evidence on the effectiveness of
condoms in preventing infection. The conference will also focus
on Angola, whose government the church has accused of encouraging
sexual permissiveness through a recently launched campaign to
promote condom use. The conference wraps up on Monday.
"World Education Leaders Sound Alarm over AIDS Pandemic"
Agence France Presse (07.26.01)
The AIDS pandemic has had a bigger effect on teaching than
any other profession and threatens to wipe out the trade in
Africa within 10 years, a global conference heard Thursday. "The
percentage of teachers who have died or carry the HIV virus is
higher than for most professional groups," said Fred van
Leeuwen, secretary general of Education International (EI). The
confederation of about 300 teaching unions and organizations from
155 countries is holding a conference in Thailand focusing on
teaching in the age of globalization.
Some 35-40 percent of secondary school teachers in Botswana
are infected with HIV, the EI said. "In the next 10 years, if
nothing is done, the ranks of teachers will completely disappear
in Africa," said Monique Fouiloux, EI's AIDS specialist. There
are also concerns that teachers are abusing their position to
sexually exploit children under their care, helping fuel the
transmission of the deadly disease. This year in conjunction with
other international institutions including UNESCO, EI intends to
make AIDS prevention an integral part of its education mission.
In the process, it will have to counter significant cultural
barriers that hamper frank discussion of AIDS, a problem that is
particularly severe outside the cities. "In Botswana, the only
place where it is difficult to talk about AIDS is in rural
areas," said Japhta Radibe, a representative of the Botwsana
Teachers Union. "Even before HIV/AIDS, we had a shortage of
teachers, but the pandemic has aggravated it," she said.
"AIDS Costs Kenya Heavily"
According to Kenya's National AIDS Control Council, the
nation is losing about $2.6 million daily to the HIV/AIDS
epidemic. Speaking at the Nairobi Provincial AIDS Control
Committee workshop this week, Chair Mohammed Abdullah said that
certain practices are spreading the disease and his council is
now advocating an attitude change and measures to reduce
transmission. Chris Kirubi, a council member, urged the
government to end and criminalize female genital mutilation and
blamed the practice for helping the spread of HIV/AIDS. Other
measures recommended include ending prostitution along Nairobi
streets and curbing the influx of child prostitutes. Kenya is one
of the sub-Saharan African countries hardest hit by AIDS: 1.1
million Kenyans have died of the disease since 1984, and 2.2
million others are living with HIV.