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[Johannesburg, South Africa], University of the Witwatersrand, Centre for Health Policy, Health Systems Knowledge Network, 2006 Feb.  p. (Health Systems Knowledge Network (KN) Discussion Document No. 1)During July and August 2005 the Health Systems Knowledge Network Hub produced a wide-ranging literature review for discussion at a meeting in India between Hubs and the rest of the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (Doherty, Gilson and EQUINET 2005). The review was based on literature sourced from within the consortium managing the hub as well as from institutions networked with the consortium members. Some key references from existing materials were also followed up. Given the wide scope of work on health systems, it was not feasible to conduct a general electronic search. Nor was it possible to access substantial quantities of grey literature, given the difficulties associated with identifying and locating copies of this type of literature. Because of time constraints, the review focused on reviews of international experience and articles documenting new lines of investigation. Articles that were, at the time, in press were specifically sought out to ensure as up-todate an evidence base as possible. The review began by presenting data showing that health services tend to be used proportionately more by richer than poorer social groups. It analysed the social factors affecting access to, and uptake of, health services and showed how these interact with inequitable features of the health care system. Overall, the review argued that the interaction between household health-seeking behaviour and experience of the health system generates differential health and economic consequences across social groups. The long-term costs of seeking care often impoverish poorer households, reinforcing preexisting social stratification. The review then examined in some detail the features of the health care system that contribute to inequity (such as certain approaches to priority-setting, resource allocation, financing, organisation, human resources, and management and regulation). (Excerpt)
[Wellington, New Zealand], Family Planning International, 2006 Dec. 27 p.This report focuses on the relationship between policies implemented by the World Trade Organisation, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and access to health, particularly sexual and reproductive health. .
Setting national targets for moving towards universal access. Further guidance to complement “Scaling Up Towards Universal Access: Considerations for Countries to Set their own National Targets for AIDS Prevention, Treatment, and Care and Support”. Operational guidance. A working document.
[Geneva, Switzerland], UNAIDS, 2006 Oct. 23 p.This document provides operational guidance to country-level partners and UN staff to facilitate the next phase of the country-level consultative process on scaling up towards universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support services. It concerns the setting of ambitious targets for the national HIV response to achieve by 2008 and 2010, and builds on previous guidelines. Targets need to be ambitious in order to achieve the universal access goals. Analysis by UNAIDS of existing national targets and rates of scaling up indicates that current efforts are inadequate to achieve universal access in the near future. The process of countries setting their own targets will promote partner alignment to national priorities, strengthen accountability and facilitate efforts by countries and international partners to mobilize international support and resources. Targets should have political and social legitimacy. The consultative process should be multi-sectoral, include full civil society participation, lead to consensus on the targets, and formal approval of these targets before the end of 2006. (excerpt)
UNAIDS and WHO Consultation on Progress in Prevention and Care in the Context of the "3 By 5 Initiative" and the Perspective of Universal Access in the Western Pacific Region, 12-16 December 2005, Manila, Philippines. Report.
Manila, Philippines. WHO, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, .  p. ((WP)HSI/ICP/HSI/3.5/001; Report Series No. RS/2005/GE/45(PHL))The WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, in collaboration with the Joint United Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), organized the four-day UNAIDS and WHO Consultation on Progress in Prevention and Care in the Context of the "3 by 5" Initiative and the Perspective of Universal Access in the Western Pacific Region with the general objective that, by the end of the consultation, the participants would have: (1) reviewed progress made on prevention and care scale-up in the context of the "3 by 5" Initiative; (2) shared experiences among countries on the current performance of monitoring and evaluation systems related to HIV/AIDS care, treatment and support: (3) identified ways to strengthen the integration of HIV/AIDS prevention and care: and (4) defined the conditions and terms of reference of a partners technical working group on HIV/AIDS prevention and care scale-up in the Western Pacific Region. (excerpt)
Right to education during displacement: a resource for organizations working with refugees and internally displaced persons.
New York, New York, Women' s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, 2006.  p.This resource is the first in a series of tools that identifies everyone's right to education, with a focus on refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons (IDP). This version is designed for use by local, regional and international organizations, United Nations (UN) agencies, government agencies and education personnel working with displaced communities. Is it mean to serve as: an awareness raising tool to encourage humanitarian assistance agencies to implement education programs - and donors to found them; training and capacity-building resource for practitioners and others working with displaced populations on international rights around education; and a call to action for organizations and individuals to promote access and completion of quality education for all persons affected by emergencies. (excerpt)
Public choices, private decisions: sexual and reproductive health and the Millennium Development Goals.
[New York, New York], United Nations Development Programme, UN Millennium Project, 2006.  p.Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) was given an international consensus definition at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994. At its core is the promotion of healthy, voluntary and safe sexual and reproductive choices for individuals and couples, including decisions on family size and timing of marriage, that are fundamental to human well-being. Sexuality and reproduction are vital aspects of personal identity and key to creating fulfilling personal and social relationships within diverse cultural contexts. SRH does not only involve the reproductive years but emphasizes the need for a life-cycle approach to health. It touches on sensitive, yet important, issues for individuals, couples and communities, such as sexuality, gender discrimination and male/female power relations. Attainment of SRH depends vitally on the protection of reproductive rights, a set of long-standing accepted norms found in various internationally agreed human rights instruments. The ICPD adopted the goal of ensuring universal access to reproductive health by 2015 as part of its framework for a broad set of development objectives. The Millennium Declaration and the subsequent Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set priorities closely related to these objectives. Progress towards the MDGs depends on attaining the ICPD reproductive health goals. The leaders of the world ratified that understanding in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. (excerpt)
London, England, International Community of Women Living with HIV / AIDS, 2006.  p.WHO supported ICW to map positive women's experiences of access to care and treatment in three countries - Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania. The findings will contribute to advocacy for increased political support and resources to address gendered barriers to care, treatment and support. The project complements a mapping and database of civil society organizations (CSOs) providing treatment by the French consortium - SIDACTION. This mapping presents results from three focus group discussions with HIV positive women conducted in two districts of Tanzania - Arusha and Moshi (2006). Women who participated in these focus group discussions were aged between 30 to 45. Most of them came from villages Munduli (Arusha) and Seliani (Moshi). Three focus groups were also conducted with men only in Arusha. A mixed-sex focus group was conducted in Chalinze in the Bagamoyo district (Dar es Salaam coastal area) with men and women aged between 35 and 42. There were between 12 - 15 participants in each group in Arusha and Mosh. However, in Chalinze there were only 8 people. Results from the mixed sex and men only focus groups are presented here but the main emphasis is on the results from the women only focus groups. Medical personnel were also interviewed and their experiences are included. (excerpt)
London, England, International Community of Women Living with HIV / AIDS, 2006.  p.Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania. The findings will contribute to advocacy for increased political support and resources to address gendered barriers to care, treatment and support. The project complements a mapping and database of civil society organizations (CSOs) providing treatment by the French consortium - SIDACTION. The research was carried out in Homabay (rural) and Kibera community (urban) involving women and men living with HIV and AIDS (13th December 2005 - 31st January 2006). Data was gathered through questionnaires and focus group discussions (FGDs). Women who participated in the focus group discussions were aged between 22 - 45 years old and in total 100 people took part in the project, including questionnaire respondents. The service providers in both sites were of varied age group (28-45 years) and both female and male service providers participated in the focus group discussions. Results from the mixed sex and service provider focus groups are presented here but the main emphasis is onthe results from the women only focus groups. (excerpt)
Political Declaration on HIV / AIDS. Draft resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly.
New York, New York, United Nations, General Assembly, 2006 Jun 2. 8 p. (A/60/L.57)We, Heads of State and Government and representatives of States and Governments participating in the comprehensive review of the progress achieved in realizing the targets set out in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, held on 31 May and 1 June 2006, and the High-Level Meeting, held on 2 June 2006. Note with alarm that we are facing an unprecedented human catastrophe; that a quarter of a century into the pandemic, AIDS has inflicted immense suffering on countries and communities throughout the world; and that more than 65 million people have been infected with HIV, more than 25 million people have died of AIDS, 15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS and millions more made vulnerable, and 40 million people are currently living with HIV, more than 95 per cent of whom live in developing countries. Recognize that HIV/AIDS constitutes a global emergency and poses one of the most formidable challenges to the development, progress and stability of our respective societies and the world at large, and requires an exceptional and comprehensive global response. (excerpt)
New York, New York, UNFPA, .  p.Each year, more people are living with HIV than the year before. And each year, more people die of AIDS. This growing global tragedy has many faces: The desperation of a teenage orphan struggling to care for her younger siblings by trading sexual favours for food; The sorrow of a young mother who learns she is HIV-positive at a prenatal clinic; The anguish of an unemployed youth who fears he has acquired HIV, but has no access to counselling, testing or condoms. In the absence of a cure, HIV prevention offers the best hope of reversing the epidemic. Prevention works. Sustained political commitment through intensive programmes in diverse settings has reduced HIV incidence. Advances in treatment are reinforcing prevention efforts by encouraging voluntary testing and reducing the stigma associated with AIDS. Nevertheless, the pandemic is outstripping efforts to contain it and is gaining ground globally. (excerpt)
Paris, France, UNESCO, 2006 Mar. 37 p. (Good Policy and Practice in HIV and AIDS and Education Booklet No. 3; ED-2006/WS/4; cld 26006)UNESCO recognizes the significant impact of HIV and AIDS on international development, and in particular on progress towards achieving Education For All (EFA). As the UN agency with a mandate in education and a co-sponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), UNESCO takes a comprehensive approach to HIV and AIDS. It recognizes that education can play a critical role in preventing future HIV infections and that one of its primary roles is to help learners and educators in formal and non-formal education systems to avoid infection. It also recognizes its responsibility to address and respond to the impact of the epidemic on formal and non-formal education systems, and the need to expand efforts to address issues related to care, treatment and support of those infected and affected by HIV. UNESCO's global strategy for responding to HIV and AIDS is guided by four key principles, and focuses on five core tasks. The guiding principles that are the foundation of UNESCO's response to HIV and AIDS are: Work towards expanding educational opportunities and the quality of education for all; A multi-pronged approach that addresses both risk (individual awareness and behaviour) and vulnerability (contextual factors); Promotion and protection of human rights, promotion of gender equality, and elimination of violence (notably violence against women), stigma and discrimination; An approach to prevention based on providing information that is scientifically sound, culturally appropriate, and effectively communicated, and helping learners and educators to develop the skills they need to prevent HIV infection and to tackle HIV and AIDS-related discrimination. (excerpt)
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2006 Mar 30.  p.This independent formative evaluation was conducted by a team of six international consultants between August 2005 and January 2006 to appraise WHO's contributions and roles in implementing the "3 by 5" Initiative. Funded by the Canadian Government, and as a requirement for its grant to WHO, the evaluation investigated all three levels at which WHO operates (headquarters, regional offices and country offices), placing particular emphasis on Africa. This included seven country assessments and an extensive consultation of international and country-level partners and stakeholders. A number of focused technical studies were also commissioned. The evaluation reviewed how effectively WHO provided technical, managerial and administrative guidance and support pursuant to the "3 by 5" goals and target. An assessment was also made of the extent to which WHO has mobilized, sustained and contributed to this major global partnership through improving harmonization between United Nations agencies and working with other stakeholders and partners. Key lessons from "3 by 5" have been documented, including those on how the initiative contributed to health systems strengthening and HIV prevention, as well as the ways with which equity and gender concerns were dealt. Potential opportunities for future collaboration between WHO, main donors and partners were identified and recommendations have been provided for future plans and the way forward for WHO and its partners. (excerpt)
The Maputo report. WHO support to countries for scaling up essential interventions towards universal coverage in Africa.
Brazzaville, Congo, WHO, 2006. 33 p. (WHO/CCO/06.02)The African region accounts for 10% of the world's population yet is confronted with 20% of the global burden of disease. African nations are faced with high levels of poverty, with 39% of the population below the poverty line; and slow economic growth, with annual per capita expenditure on health in most countries limited to between US$ 10 and US$ 29. Other well-documented challenges to the region include limited financial and human resources, uncoordinated and inconsistent policy action on the determinants of health, limited use of knowledge and evidence to inform policies, and frequent occurrences of natural and man-made disasters. Although much has happened, WHO requires radical new approaches for how it does business in the region. The 21st century presents extensive opportunities for improving health in the region -- building on the momentum of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), resolutions of the WHO World Health Assembly (WHA) and the Regional Committee, coordinated work of the African Union, and the strategic framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) -- offering opportunities for the mobilization of political, technical and other resources for the region. In addition to health investments from national, bilateral and multilateral sources, commitments are being crystallized in distinct initiatives such as the Millennium Challenge Account, the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Report on the Commission for Africa, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). These initiatives come at a time when international agreements such as the Paris Declaration reaffirm the importance of countries taking the lead in their own health agendas in regards to international development assistance. (excerpt)
Engaging all health care providers in TB control. Guidance on implementing public-private mix approaches.
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], Stop TB Department, 2006. 52 p. (WHO/HTM/TB/2006.360)A great deal of progress has been made in global tuberculosis control in recent years through the large-scale implementation of DOTS. It has been acknowledged though that TB control efforts worldwide, although impressive, are not sufficient. The global TB targets -- detecting 70% of TB cases and successfully treating 85% of them, and halving the prevalence and mortality of the disease by 2015 as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- are likely to be met only if current efforts are intensified. Among the important interventions required to reach these goals would be a systematic involvement of all relevant health care providers in delivering effective TB services to all segments of the population. Therefore, engaging all health care providers in TB control is an essential component of WHO's new Stop TB strategy¹ and the Stop TB Partnership's Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., Population Reference Bureau [PRB], 2006 Apr. 5 p.As if the global AIDS pandemic alone were not enough, developing countries are beset with converging epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis (TB)--increasing the likelihood of premature death in these countries. Worldwide, 14 million people are coinfected with TB and HIV--70 percent of those in sub-Saharan Africa (see figure for five countries with particularly high coinfection rates). TB is the leading cause of death for those infected with HIV and is implicated in up to one-half of all AIDS deaths. And because HIV compromises the immune system, HIV-positive people are 50 times more likely to develop active TB than those who are HIV-negative. (excerpt)
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2006 Dec; 43(5):618-623.The number of people on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in South Africa has risen from < 2000 in October 2003, to almost 200,000 by the end of 2005. Yet South Africa's performance in terms of HAART coverage is poor both in comparison with other countries and the targets set by the government's own Operational Plan. The public-sector HAART ''rollout'' has been uneven across South Africa's nine provinces and the role of external assistance from NGOs and funding agencies such as the Global Fund and PEPFAR has been substantial. The National Treasury seems to have allocated sufficient funding to the Department of Health for a larger HAART rollout, but the Health Minister has not mobilized it accordingly. Failure to invest sufficiently in human resources-- especially nurses--is likely to constrain the growth of HAART coverage. (author's)
Oxford, England, Oxfam International, 2006. 122 p.This report shows that developing countries will only achieve healthy and educated populations if their governments take responsibility for providing essential services. Civil society organisations and private companies can make important contributions, but they must be properly regulated and integrated into strong public systems, and not seen as substitutes for them. Only governments can reach the scale necessary to provide universal access to services that are free or heavily subsidised for poor people and geared to the needs of all citizens -- including women and girls, minorities, and the very poorest. But while some governments have made great strides, too many lack the cash, the capacity, or the commitment to act. Rich country governments and international agencies such as the World Bank should be crucial partners in supporting public systems, but too often they block progress by failing to deliver debt relief and predictable aid that supports public systems. They also hinder development by pushing private sector solutions that do not benefit poor people. The world can certainly afford to act. World leaders have agreed an international set of targets known as the Millennium Development Goals. Oxfam calculates that meeting the MDG targets on health, education, and water and sanitation would require an extra $47 billion a year. Compare this with annual global military spending of $1 trillion, or the $40 billion that the world spends every year on pet food. (excerpt)
Antiretroviral treatment for injecting drug users in developing and transitional countries 1 year before the end of the "Treating 3 million by 2005. Making it happen. The WHO strategy" (‘3 by 5').
Addiction. 2006 Sep; 101(9):1246-1253.The objective was to describe and estimate the availability of antiretroviral treatment (ART) to injecting drug users (IDUs) in developing and transitional countries. Literature review of grey and published literature and key informants' communications on the estimated number of current/former injecting drug users (IDUs) receiving ART and the proportion of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attributed to injecting drug use (IDU), the number of people in ART and in need of ART, the number of people living with HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (PLWHA) and the main source of ART. Data on former/current IDUs on ART were available from 50 countries (in 19 countries: nil IDUs in treatment) suggesting that ~34 000 IDUs were receiving ART by the end of 2004, of whom 30 000 were in Brazil. In these 50 countries IDUs represent ~15% of the people in ART. In Eastern European and Central Asia IDU are associated with > 80% of HIV cases but only ~2000 (14%) of the people in ART. In South and South-East Asia there were ~1700 former/current IDUs receiving ART (~1.8% of the people in ART), whereas the proportion of HIV cases associated to IDU is > 20% in five countries (and regionally ranges from 4% to 75%). There is evidence that the coverage of ART among current/former IDUs is proportionally substantially less than other exposure categories. Ongoing monitoring of ART by exposure and population subgroups is critical to ensuring that scale-up is equitable, and that the distribution of ART is, at the very least, transparent. (author's)
HIV and AIDS treatment education: a critical component of efforts to ensure universal access to prevention, treatment and care. UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on Education.
Paris, France, UNESCO, 2006 Jun. 50 p. (ED.2006/WS/11309713)This paper explores some of the issues contained within the definition of treatment education, signalling ways that the education sector can play a role along with others engaged in treatment access and education. It considers some key strategies, including how to effectively engage and prepare communities and how to involve key constituencies, particularly people with HIV and those on treatment. Moreover, the paper reexamines the harmful effects of stigma and discrimination and how these impede progress in prevention as well as expanded treatment access. The paper also suggests some possible future directions, underscoring areas of particular priority. These include the need for: Identification, documentation and wide dissemination of effective approaches to treatment education that are feasible, sustainable and that can be scaled up; Development of practical guidelines and materials that can be used by programme implementers to support the integration of treatment education within ongoing HIV and AIDS education efforts; Ongoing and close communication with authorities and organizations responsible for expanding treatment access to ensure coherent and well-coordinated programming. (excerpt)
Lancet. 2006 Nov 4; 368(9547):1552-1554.In September, 1994, thousands of policymakers, activists, health specialists, and members of the donor community gathered in Cairo, Egypt, for what turned out to be a unique UN International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD), a true turning point. The Cairo conference put the ideas of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, choice, women's empowerment, a life-cycle approach, and gender equity at the centre of the international agenda, and signalled the end of the so-called population era. Instead of pursuing demographic targets via family-planning programmes, the goals of the ICPD Programme of Action (signed by 179 countries) were to achieve universal access to safe, affordable, and effective reproductive health care and services, including those for young people, and promoted a gender perspective. The package of services incorporated family planning information and contraceptives, skilled care at pregnancy and childbirth, safe abortion services where and when abortion is legal, and treatment and management of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. Governments set a realistic timeframe of 20 years, to accomplish the goals established in the Programme of Action. (excerpt)
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, . 17 p.The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA) was launched by UNAIDS and partners in February 2004 in response to rising rates of HIV infection among women globally, and a growing concern that existing AIDS strategies did not address social and economic inequalities that make women particularly vulnerable to HIV. The GCWA is structured as an informal, global alliance of civil society groups, networks of women living with HIV, and UN organizations with four key goals: to raise the visibility of issues related to women, girls and AIDS; to highlight strategies to strengthen women's access to HIV prevention and care services; to build partnerships for action; and, in so doing, to scale up efforts that will lead to concrete, measurable improvements in the lives of women and girls. The GCWA focuses on women and AIDS rather than gender and AIDS. This is deliberate. Whilst acknowledging that gender inequalities fuel and sustain the epidemic, the profound changes required in attitudes, behaviour and societal structures may well take generations. In the meantime, nearly two-thirds of young people living with HIV are adolescent girls. The GCWA seeks to include but move beyond gender-based analyses to action. It seeks to work with men and women, with existing allies, as well as new partners in the women's movement to prevent women from becoming infected and to live full lives, even when infected or profoundly affected by HIV. (excerpt)
UN System HIV workplace programmes. HIV prevention, treatment and care for UN System employees and their families.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2006 Feb.  p. (UNAIDS Best Practice Collection; UNAIDS/06.04E)Today, more than 20 years since the first cases of HIV infection were recognized, the epidemic continues to expand relentlessly. Despite early and ongoing efforts to contain its spread and to find a cure, 20 million people have died and an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide are living with HIV. In the latter half of 2004, the number of people on antiretroviral therapy in low-income and transitional countries increased dramatically, but still only about 12% of the 5.8 million people in developing and transitional countries who need treatment are getting treatment. The far-reaching social and economic consequences of the epidemic are having an impact on individuals, communities and the workplace. The UN, like many employers all over the world, is faced with major challenges related to the direct and indirect costs of the epidemic: increasing medical costs, absenteeism related to illness, high staff turnover, increasing recruitment and training costs, strained labour relations and the ever-increasing erosion of human capital. Many UN staff come from and/or work in countries with high HIV prevalence and perform duties that may put them at increased risk of exposure to the virus. The UN recognizes its duty as a socially responsible employer and has thus committed to protecting the rights of its staff by making HIV in the UN workplace a priority. (excerpt)
[Washington, D.C.], Population Council, Frontiers in Reproductive Health, 2006 Jun.  p. (USAID Cooperative Agreement No. HRN-A-00-98-00012-00)The Government of Ghana has adopted the WHO focused antenatal care (ANC) package in a move to improve access, quality and continuity of ANC services to pregnant women. As part of these efforts, the Government has exempted fees for ANC clients. The main objective of this study, undertaken by Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), FRONTIERS, and with USAID funding, was to examine the extent to which adaptation of the package influenced quality of care received by pregnant women and its acceptability to both providers and clients. The study used a policy analysis and a situation analysis in ten intervention clinics in which the package had been introduced and four comparison clinics. Data were collected through key informant interviews, focused group discussions, client exit interviews, client card reviews, observations of provider-client interactions and review of facility records. (excerpt)
The 10-year struggle to provide antiretroviral treatment to people with HIV in the developing world.
Lancet. 2006 Aug 5; 368(9534):541-546.In March, 2006, the WHO took stock of the 3 by 5 initiative, which had been formally launched with UNAIDS 2 years earlier. With 1.3 million people on antiretroviral treatment in developing countries by the end of 2005, the world had not reached the target of treating 3 million people living with HIV/AIDS. In terms of numbers, at least, some said that the campaign failed. But the initiative did show that with the right vision and a determined effort by all relevant parties, development achievements that seem unthinkable are indeed possible. The apparent failure to achieve what was always an aspirational goal should not overshadow the fact that the progress on access to antiretroviral treatment might have no precedent in global public health. For no other life-threatening disease has the world moved from the first scientific breakthroughs to a commitment to achieve universal access to treatment in less than a decade. But we should not forget that the number of new HIV infections still outpaces the expansion of access to treatment, and that progress remains slow in view of the millions still dying from AIDS every year. (excerpt)
New York, New York, SIECUS, .  p. (SIECUS PEPFAR Country Profiles: Focusing in on Prevention and Youth)Zambia is home to 11 million people, who represent more than 70 different ethnic groups, many sharing a common language, Bantu. Today roughly 35% of people live in urban areas. Although at one point the country was becoming increasingly urbanized, intense poverty on the rise since the 1970s has seen many people returning to rural areas. Religious beliefs in the country are varied. It is estimated that between half and three-quarters of Zambians practice Christianity, and that between a quarter and one-half practice Islam or Hinduism. A small minority practice indigenous faiths. Zambia gained its independence from Britain in 1964, and then was under one-party rule until the early 1990s. President Levy Mwanawasa was elected in 2001, although opposition parties claim the elections were marred by irregularities. Mwanawasa, however, has actively worked to rectify the perception of corruption in the government. For example, he lifted his predecessor Frederick Chiluba's immunity from investigation and prosecution regarding allegations of corruption. The next elections are scheduled for 2006. (excerpt)