Former Zambian Leader Kenneth Kaunda Takes Leadership Against HIV/AIDS in Africa
Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda is attempting to "fill the leadership vacuum" in sub-Saharan Africa in the fight against HIV/AIDS by mobilizing assistance and education for the continent, the AP/Dallas Morning News reports. Kaunda "ruled Zambia as a dictator" for 27 years before calling for free elections in 1991 and "losing in a landslide." However, Kaunda, "affectionately referred to as KK, remains widely respected" in Zambia, where 1 million of the country's 9 million people are thought to be HIV-positive. In 1986, Kaunda's 30-year-old son died from AIDS. The president subsequently held a news conference "to announce his son had died of the disease," something "that remains remarkable even 15 years later on a continent where AIDS is a secret shame," the AP/Morning News reports. After almost 10 years as an opposition leader, Kaunda last year retired from politics and founded the South Africa-based Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation, which helps AIDS orphans obtain education and medical care and works to secure HIV/AIDS medications for all Africans affected by the disease. Kaunda has also traveled around the world hoping to secure assistance for the fight against the pandemic. "Our leaders have got to lead us by example. There's no shortcut to this, none at all. ... Unless we do something about this, we are going to lose not only the whole nation, but the whole continent," he said (AP/Dallas Morning News, 7/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.