Experts say 30 million Africans will die of AIDS in 10 years

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- Some 30 million Africans will die of AIDS related complexes in the next 10 years, three consultants revealed this week in an international scientific conference in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
"Another 50 million people on the continent are likely to become infected with a similar increase in the number of children orphaned by AIDS," the consultants disclosed in an Exploration of AIDS in Africa project.
The consultants are Dr.
Peter Mugenyi, director of joint clinical research centre in Kampala, representing eastern and central Africa, Prof.
Souleymane Mboup for western Africa and Prof.
Ahmed Latif for southern Africa.
The objective of the project, conducted since last year, was to identify key issues relating to the evolvement and perpetuation of the epidemic at the regional, sub-regional and individual country levels in order to inform a regional synthesis of approaches to the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS and its effects in the sub-Saharan Africa.
The worrying estimates on the magnitude of the epidemic in Africa contrast sharply with the 17 million Africans who have so far died of the disease since the beginning of the epidemic more than two decades ago.
By the end of 2000, there were more than 34 million people in the world living with HIV, 24.
5 million of whom live in Africa, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa.
By the end of the same period, the world had a total of 13.
2 million children who had become AIDS orphans, and 12.
1 million of these children live in Africa.
"The pandemic has unleashed a series of crisis at the individual, the family and the micro- and macro-economic levels, with a major adverse impact on access to health care and essential drugs and has reversed in health and developmental gains witnessed in the late 1970's and early 1980's," the experts said.
In recognition of the impact of HIV/AIDS on human and social development, especially as it affects the poor in sub-Saharan Africa, the Rockfeller Foundation, which convened the Kampala conference, undertook an AIDS exploration in the context of its overall commitment to enrich and sustain the lives and livelihoods of the poor and excluded globally.
The exploraton was undertaken through the foundation's Health Equity Programme whose operating principle is equity in health with the Africa component of the exploration through the foundation's regional office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Experience gained by the Rockefeller Foundation through its work in Africa indicates that developments in food security, education and health are being constrained by the consequences of AIDS.
The exploration used a combination of methods ranging from the review of existing documentation of the epidemic at national and global levels, interviews with key leaders and managers of HIV/AIDS programmes, and consultations with AIDS researchers within the region.
The exploration revealed that the prevalence of HIV infection in the region is not uniform, and within each sub-region, the prevalence of infection varies from country to country.
It suggests that HIV prevalence is lowest in the western Africa sub-region and highest in the southern Africa sub-region.
In western Africa, HIV prevalence rates are highest in Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau and are lowest in Senegal and Mauritania.
In eastern and central Africa, the prevalence of HIV infection is significantly higher than in western Africa.
The highest prevalence rates now are found in Burundi, while the prevalence rate remains low in Sudan.
While southern Africa has been affected the worst by the epidemic, the prevalence varies from country to country.
It was found that in the southern Africa sub-region, HIV prevalence is highest in Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
HIV prevalence rates are very low in Seychelles and Mauritius.
The epidemic is spreading rapidly within South Africa where HIV prevalence rates in the country rose from less than 1 percent in 1990 to over 22 percent in 1998.
Among the priorities on care and treatment of the disease, the consultants recommended increased access to cheaper drugs, user friendly and cheaper monitoring tests and regional procurements policy and co-ordination.
They called for strengthening the supply and distribution system of drugs, including use of existing programmes such as TB treatment and antenatal services and capacity building in research.
Training traditional healers in HIV/AIDS, establishment of regional centres and regional bulk procurement of drugs are some of the recommendations from the experts.

20 avril 2001 23:33:00

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