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How to save Africa, what steps?

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 02:27 pm
This is a spin-off from a previous thread about whether Africa is dying. Here we can post links to major problems and discuss how likely or easily those problems will or can be addressed.

To start, an article about world-wide vaccinations for children. Specifically about vaccinations for preventable diseases that can be fatal like diphtheria, measles, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and tuberculosis. Through the link below you can get to a world map showing numbers of vaccinations of children. The only countries to vaccinate at the lowest end are most of the tropical African countries.

Vacinations: link to map and article
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 02:59 pm
And, to Malawi where the received high marks for their vaccination programs only to have children grow to adults who starve and/or die from AIDS:

"Malawi, home to 10.7 million people, is a narrow squiggle of land in southern Africa sandwiched among Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique. Since the country won independence from Britain in 1964, its government has often focused on health initiatives. In the 1980s it extended basic immunization coverage to more than 80 percent of children. The World Health Organization gave Malawi, one of the poorest nations in the world, a citation for eliminating measles in 1992, a tribute to its vaccine program.

But AIDS and famine and poverty have eroded those gains, overwhelming a health care system that is severely underfunded. Malawi spends only $7 per person and is entirely dependent on foreign donations for even that amount. "

Malawi
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 03:28 pm
GlaxoSmithKline is selling a major AIDS drug in africa for around 90% less than americans are paying for it. This is good news to South African countries, unfortunately many can't afford the 1 or 2 dollars a day for treatment anyway. The drug company has been taken to court for unfair pricing.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 05:50 pm
The death of many young parents in Africa from AIDS is creating millions of orphans as well, with 40 million expected by 2010, it said.
http://www.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/AIDS/10/31/africa.aids.ap/

bill gates offers $200 million:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/01/26/health.gates.reut/index.html

us $5 mill
http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/01/27/health.afghanistan.ap/index.html

AIDS 20 year epidemic
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/aids/
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 06:19 pm
Hey lil k!

This is going to sound pretty dang cold hearted but I think the best thing we could do to help Africa in the long run is to get the heck out of there completely.

Right now who gets help and who doesn't is an entirely political choice for the "giver" and, in many cases, a weapon for the "getter".

IMO, everyone should get out of Africa and let the Africans settle their own territory issues and the like (instead of living within borders established by former colonial rulers..) and let the Africans figure out what they WANT before anyone goes and tells them what they need.

Yeah, a lot of people would end up dying as a result of that. But a lot are dying right now and continuing on as we have been is just going to continue that for a very long time to come.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 06:42 pm
Yep, that's one approach. But, what happens if some countries are at a point where we could help them effectively while their neighbors are not?
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fishin
 
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Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 07:12 pm
I dunno.. I guess if they are at that point without any outside intervention then they go to the UN and get funding for focused programs maybe?

Right now to many governments and NGOs are out there and things are way to scattershot. Maybe teh UN should setup a group that focuses on developing nations (if they don't already have one) that could develop a complete framework and prioritize what should come first. Just as an example, they could have something like getting a nation to where they have potable water available in every community. Once that is completed they move on to step 2, etc..

That way they could not only figure out what is needed where but provide adequate funding for it to happen along with the training and everything else that is needed to keep it going long term.
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roger
 
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Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 07:28 pm
Only partial agreement with fishin'. In addition to getting out, we need to remove some of the barriers faced by African nations. Specifically, protective tariffs against manufactured goods, especially textiles and clothing. In a similar vein, we need to eliminate agriculture subsidies in our own country, such subsidies having a similar affect on competitiveness of African produce. In addition to permiting Africa to be more competitive, she will probably be seen as a better for investment. In other words, give them less help, but don't shove their heads back under every time they get them above the water line. (This reminds me of an old joke, but it is very unPC and I won't tell it here.)

Some sectors of the US economy will be hurt, but only in the short run. Ultimately, our own capital will be more wisely allocated.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 07:40 pm
Oh, when I said "get out" earlier there roger I meant fully! Physically, politically, economicly.. the whole shooting match. I agree with you on the tarriff issues, etc.. With those in place we seem to be working against ourselves right now...
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littlek
 
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Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 07:45 pm
Fishin on the un approach: I agree, the UN should set up a step-by-step schedule for aid to each country. But, if Malawi goes and follows the schedule and gets 'ahead', how will it's neighboors react? Will there be more fighting over the disparity of standard of living?

Interesting points, both of you. I thought this topic was going to go unanswered.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 08:04 pm
littlek wrote:
Will there be more fighting over the disparity of standard of living?


This is the biggest problem with any program of this size/nature. IMO, that is the very problem with Africa right now. Someone looks across a valley and sees someone over on the other side has something they don't have and the shooting starts. The culture continues to (seem to) be very territorial and possesive across the entire continent.

I would think the UN would have to start with a nation that is stable and has little political strife in recent years. As a part of them getting aid that nation would have to extend a hand to it's neighbors.

Just to use Malawi as a continued example, if the UN built up the water delivery system in Malawi they could move on to step #2 (let's just say sewer systems for ease..). As a condition of Malawi getting aid for building sewer systems Malawi would have toi train some of their citizens on how to design, build and maintain their water systems. As a side condition, they could put their training to practical use and get some experience by designing and installing water distribution systems in their neighboring countries that have stable governments.

This does a few things. #1, it gives some of the people in Malawi jobs and an income. #2, it keeps any one country from getting to far ahead of their neighbors which should help keep the animosity levels down. #3, it promotes the idea of building stable governments and cooperation amongst neighbors across the entire continent. #4, as each nation joins in the process the standard of living improves for their citizens.

The sticking point for the UN would be that someone has to be first and someone has to be last. Whoever is last isn't going to like it and whoever is the ruling party in the countries at the top of the list get significant political clout (and possibly military) by being there. They'd have to come up with a mechanism to balance all of that out. A dictator that summarily abuses a minority tribe within their nation shouldn't be able to use water or sewer systems to reward their followers and punish opposition tribes (which is how things have worked historically..) and solidify their hold on power.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 08:45 pm
In Malawi, things were going good and progressing nicely until a famine hit (I'm sure there was also mismanagement...), ecomony tanked, etc..
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 09:12 pm
In a contribution to the "International Herald Tribune," Nicholas Stern of the World Bank says wealthy nations must lower the barriers to trade with the developing world that are undermining economic growth and investment in these nations and keeping people poor.

European, Japanese, and U.S. agricultural subsidies to their relatively wealthy farming sectors, coupled with their protectionist policies against farm and textile imports from developing nations, prevent the poor from utilizing their main natural resources and "exploiting their comparative advantage" in these sectors.

"Removing such barriers would expand the market for goods from the developing world, increase investment in labor-intensive sectors and thus enable more people to improve their lives and escape from poverty."

But instead, rich nations preach free trade and insist developing nations open their markets -- while simultaneously protecting their own, wealthier, industries from the risks of a truly free and competitive market.

Stern says, moreover, lowering these obstacles to trade makes economic sense. The benefits to the poor in developing countries if wealthy countries were to remove these trade barriers "would be more than twice the $50 billion in annual development aid that rich countries now provide."

Such barriers to trade with developing nations "are impediments to investment, growth, jobs, and poverty reduction. Removing such barriers should be the top priority," he says.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 09:13 pm
Yeah, I looked up some stuff on Malawi. They have several isues. One being a lack of irrigation systems but they also have some significant problems with argicultural run-off. The fertilizers are polluting the water systems and they have problems with silt build-up in the rivers/streams from the farming areas. Apparently they are also dumping raw sewage into the lakes. All of those are ruining their fishing bidness...

The HIV issue isn't minor for them (15+% of the population infected) and they have a huge population expolsion. 44% of their population is under age 14! That's an awful lot of mouths to feed that can't really contribute to economic expansion of the country as a whole.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 09:19 pm
dyslexia - I agree that were we to follow the economic guidelines listed above that the world would be a better place for us all.

fishin, 44% of the pop under 14 is also attributed to the fact that HIV tends to kill adults more often then children. They have a serious issue with AIDS, but they're still ahead of the curve relative to their neighbors. If only they would use the GD condoms!
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 08:09 am
littlek wrote:
fishin, 44% of the pop under 14 is also attributed to the fact that HIV tends to kill adults more often then children. They have a serious issue with AIDS, but they're still ahead of the curve relative to their neighbors. If only they would use the GD condoms!


There birth rate itself is still high compared to developed nations. Malawi is a country where the average life expectancy doesn't quit reach 40 years yet women, on average, have 5 children.

I think that points to a very base animal instinct. When the average life span is short the number of off-spring rises to ensure continuation of the genetic line. They are trapped in a repetative and dangerous cycle. If HIV/AIDS were cured today their life expectancy rates would skyrocket and those current children would still be repeating the cycle of their parents having large numbers of children. They could easliy find themselves tripling their population in a matter of a few decades and we'd have further probalems of starvation.

These cycles are almost impossible to break sucessfully in any short term sense. Not a pretty picture.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 09:04 am
in one of the articles I read through, there was a 24 year old woman who had recently become an only child. She had 5 other brothers and sisters, every one of her siblings died because they had AIDS. She was caring for all her neices and nephews. It's heart breaking.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 09:24 am
I can see this is beginning to be discussed but I'll throw it out there - birth control. Condoms, contraceptive foam, injections, vasectomies, hysterectomies, the pill, etc. - anything!

Condoms also, of course, because of AIDS prevention.

But the other stuff, too, because a lot of African cultures don't want men to be using birth control. So, yeah, women will have to be deceptive, but at least they won't be saddled with unwanted pregnancies, and there will be fewer AIDS orphans.

Coca-Cola is in virtually every tiny town and village. The same distribution systems and advertising could be used to make condoms and contraceptive foam the 'cool' things to use, and cheap, too. I mention these two because of AIDS prevention and also because these are the cheapest of the methods, and would probably go over better than voluntary sterilization.

Get the birth rate under control and then start dealing with other problems, I figure. For one thing, a lower birth rate will bring with it more female empowerment - women who can say "No, we won't have sex until you put on a condom." and "No, I don't tolerate you having a girlfriend where you work. I am your wife and I refuse to accept this kind of lifestyle."

After that, I think it needs to be distribution systems. So much of the continent requires a bribe to get things done. This should cease immediately, as this is why millions of dollars of aid pours in from first-world countries yet it never seems to go anywhere. Americans, Brits, Aussies, the French, Canadians, etc. are generally very generous and caring people, but our desires are thwarted if we pour in money but it just lines the pockets of the few rather than feeds, clothes, shelters and vaccinates the many.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 09:36 am
Ivory Coast riots

Government supporters rioting against accord drafted in Paris to establish roles for rebel leaders in the country's government.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2003 12:12 am
Slavery-like conditions in West Africa - A scout tempts young adults and teens from village homes into grueling work with no pay.

West Africa Slavery - a long way to go

And

A year of peace in Angola - after 27 years of civil war.

Angola - A cautious hope
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