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    AIDS hits Africa: millions orphaned [news]

    NURSING RSA. 1991 Feb; 6(2):29.

    Africa is confronted with the problem of a lost generation--estimated 10 million orphans whose parents will die of AIDS. In Uganda, the problems of 40,000 children orphaned by the disease have alerted the international community to the fact that AIDS can no longer be compartmentalized as a health problem. It has unprecedented socioeconomic consequences, affecting Africa's work force, its ability to man industries, grow food, and export enough to repay its debts. According to recent surveys, in the next 5-10 years 45% of the South African work force and 90% of skilled Zimbabweans may be infected by HIV. As the 1990s progress, Uganda--with an estimated 1.3 m HIV-positive people--can expect 12,000 new AIDS cases a month. Earlier this month the World Bank and 20 other major donors sent delegates to Uganda to work out a multisectoral AIDS strategy. Everyone agreed that putting money into schools, agriculture, roads, and economic planning as well as health, was needed. But a bitter war took place between the bank and WHO, which holds the UN mandate to control AIDS programs. A myriad of small, nongovernmental organizations, which actually do the work, ganged up to stop the World Bank from imposing a monster bureaucracy on them. But Uganda welcomed the World Bank's provision of $30m (about R78m) worth of soft loans for infrastructure such as clinics, schools, and roads. It seems WHO swallowed its pride, realizing it has enough on its plate coping with AIDS statistics and policies. In the past 4 years the only people who have done anything to help 25,000 AIDS orphans in Uganda's worst-hit district of Rakai are a few irish nuns from a mission hospital. Norway's Redda Barna of Save the Children Fund (SCF) has recently set up nearby and Oxfam and SCF UK have backed work in Rakai. But just 90 minutes' drive south of the Ugandan capital of Kampala, a chronic emergency has passed unnoticed. "There are villages here of children only," an official said recently. Sally Fegan-Wyles, representative for the UN Children's Fund, says everyone was "paralyzed by the enormity of it, we had never experienced anything like it before." (full text)
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