Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Agence France-Presse Profiles Zimbabwe AIDS Organization
Agence France-Presse yesterday profiled Mashambanzou, an organization in Zimbabwe that provides care to people living with HIV/AIDS and AIDS orphans. Mashambanzou, which can be loosely translated to mean "the dawn of a new day," formed in 1990 to provide AIDS education and reduce the stigma of the disease. The center currently has 60 full-time employees and 450 volunteers who provide care for people affected by HIV/AIDS. Mashambanzou last year provided home care to 8,731 people with HIV/AIDS and also cared for 11,860 people with HIV/AIDS who lived in community centers. The center has a nursery that cares for 2,500 AIDS orphans and a palliative care unit for people who are dying of AIDS-related causes. Sister Margaret McAllen, coordinator of the center, has established several projects that allow people living with HIV to earn their own money. The projects, which include activities such as making bricks and peanut butter, "empower them that tomorrow can be a good day, give them a reason to get up in the morning," McAllen said. McAllen also has established small markets in different communities, thus allowing people with HIV to purchase groceries at reduced prices. McAllen said that although Mashambanzou cannot afford to purchase antiretroviral drugs for all of its clients, it does provide drugs to reduce the risk of vertical HIV transmission. The center recently had to re-evaluate its budget in light of the country's economic crisis, which has pushed inflation up to nearly 120%. Approximately 3,000 Zimbabweans die of AIDS-related causes every week, and 25% of the country's adult population is HIV-positive. AIDS is expected to bring Zimbabwe's population growth down to zero this year, and life expectancy is expected to drop from 66 years in 1997 to 35 years in 2010 (Agence France-Presse, 3/28).
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