Zaire Leads Africa in Fight against AIDS

By Robert M. Press, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 19, 1991 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Zaire Leads Africa in Fight against AIDS

Robert M. Press, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor

SUB-SAHARAN Africa, one of the world's poorest and least-educated regions, has more than half the world's estimated 6 million to 8 million cases of AIDS, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most of the 2 million women WHO estimates will die of AIDS in this decade live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Some of the hardest-hit countries are in Central and Eastern Africa. But in Zaire, a coordinated prevention campaign appears to be making progress.

The challenge is great. Besides the large number of deaths they attribute to AIDS, officials say the disease has serious economic consequences as well.

A study in Zaire estimated that annual loss of income because of illness was about $400 for an AIDS patient. (Per capita income in Zaire was about $170 in 1988, according to the World Bank and the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C.) And since most income earners in Africa support large families, a patient's incapacity has an economic effect on many others.

With African economies practically stagnant at present, and per-person spending on health care ranging from only $1 to $10 a year, most African countries can not afford the extra burden of medical care for AIDS cases.

At the same time, many African countries have been slow to recognize the AIDS challenge and even slower to do something about it. But a few, including Uganda and Zaire, were quick to acknowledge the problem and are in the forefront in efforts to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Prevention specialists in Zaire are claiming progress on two fronts: greater awareness among the public about AIDS and changes in sexual behavior that doctors say can reduce the risks of transmission.

"I feel progress is being made - a lot of progress," says Bill Martin of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an important funder of AIDS-prevention programs in Zaire. "The average person who lives in Kinshasa, Zaire, knows more about AIDS, how it is transmitted, how it is prevented, than the typical American," Mr. Martin claims.

In one of the most extensive educational campaigns in Africa, Zairians since 1987 have been blanketed with radio, television, poster, drama, and brochure messages about AIDS and how to prevent it.

"We look for creative ways to reach people,' says Julie Convisser, who heads a small AIDS-education team here for Population Services International (PSI), a private organization based in Washington. The program is funded by USAID.

DOCTORS say AIDS in Africa is most commonly spread through heterosexual sexual relations, often outside marriage. (In the US and Europe, on the other hand, experts say the disease has affected primarily homosexuals and intravenous drug users.)

The message of many church-sponsored and other AIDS-awareness campaigns is clear: The best prevention is premarital chastity and marital fidelity.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Zaire Leads Africa in Fight against AIDS


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?