HIV/AIDS Epidemic ‘Reversing Decades’ of Development in Africa, Opinion Piece Says
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa is "reversing decades of slow improvement in child survival, life expectancy, educational progress and economic growth," Cesar Chelala, an international public health consultant, writes in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer opinion piece.
According to Chelala, health issues in Africa "cannot be considered in isolation and are not the sole responsibility of Africans themselves." He adds, "Ways must be found to help people more directly." According to Chelala, it is "well-known" that many diseases affecting children and adults in Africa "could be addressed with minimum resources if they were employed strategically."
Health services and infrastructures in Africa are "inadequate, and a lack of trained medical personnel is widespread" on the continent, Chelala writes, adding that the problem "is exaggerated by the continued exodus of doctors and nurses" to wealthy nations. Industrialized nations "should stop the brain drain of countries living at the limit of their possibilities," Chelala writes. He notes that if "equitable health care systems are to be effective, resources must be redirected from curative care in urban settings with high-tech equipment to primary and preventive care."
In addition, Chelala writes that if wealthy nations "are committed to assist Africa and its people, financial institutions and donor governments must closely monitor how their funds are spent." According to Chelala, unrestricted "financial loans can be more detrimental than helpful, since they only contribute to the corruption of local elites." He concludes, "In a continent ravaged by hopelessness, such actions could contribute to a renewal of hope" (Chelala, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5/13).