Facing a Pandemic: The African Church and the Crisis of AIDS

Quotes from Church documents about Concern for Africa
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In Zimbabwe, average life expectancy is expected to be halved by AIDS by the year from 61 years to 39 years.

Facing a Pandemic

Of the An estimated At that point, the threat of the disease had become apparent to all in the international community. The Vatican meeting began on a contentious note when AIDS patients who were invited to the meeting were prevented from speaking. In addition to insisting that there is no room within Catholic theology to allow the compassionate use of condoms, officials of the Catholic church have repeatedly tried to cast doubt on the effectiveness of condoms in fighting AIDS. In , a doctor who is a member of the Vatican Council for the Family said that using condoms will not prevent HIV infection.

In Africa and around the world the hierarchy of the Catholic church has worked actively to suppress condom use, education and distribution. In , the local Roman Catholic church in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, prevented the distribution of one million condoms by health and election officials at polling stations during a primary election.

Facing a Pandemic The African Church and the Crisis of AIDS

On the issue of safe sex education, particularly for teenagers and young adults, the church has been even more aggressive, only recognizing the need for sexuality education within the limits of monogamous, heterosexual marriage, impeding the development of much-needed programs that address contraception in any context, including condoms to prevent AIDS.

The Catholic church has persistently opposed efforts to develop a comprehensive sexual education curriculum for schools in Kenya, despite the declarations of international bodies like the UN AIDS conference that sexual education is key to fighting AIDS. When Kenya did develop a comprehensive sexual education curriculum, it was shelved because of vocal opposition from the Catholic church. While the church strives to present a monolithic view on condom use, cracks are appearing in the facade. Here we can see the principle of double effect. If a husband violates his marital vows and sleeps with other women he must make sure that he does not transmit the virus to his wife, else he would be violating the principle of justice.

This is where the principle of lesser evil comes in. Clearly there are many Roman Catholics who feel uncomfortable with the current official position.

He predicts that beyond the open issue of the AIDS politics of the next pope, whomever is chosen by the pope to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—which has the last word on Vatican orthodoxy—may well play a key role in crafting a more flexible position, if there is to be one. Ten or twelve years ago I would have felt this and it saddens me that this far down the line, little, if anything, has changed. There was a time, when I was still with the church, I would have hoped that change could possibly be effected-from within and thereby have remained within the church and my ministry.

Their risk is augmented when they are out of school, impoverished, on the street, or otherwise in circumstances that have been associated with the presence of AIDS in the family. Risk of Being Out of School As noted above, withdrawing children from school appears to be a common coping mechanism for families affected by AIDS, and quantitative studies have borne out this general observation. A study in rural Zambia showed that 68 percent of orphans of school age were not enrolled in school compared to 48 percent of non-orphans.

The most recent annual report by the U.

Background

For example, in a study of heavily AIDS-affected communities in Zimbabwe, 48 percent of primary school-age orphans had dropped out of school, most often at the time of a parent's illness or death, and of the children of secondary school age interviewed, there were no orphans who were able to stay in school. A study in Zambia noted that wife inheritance, a practice whereby a widow is "inherited" to be married to her husband's brother or another relative, may contribute to property-grabbing in AIDS-affected families.

If the man dies and his widow has AIDS or is suspected of being HIV-positive, his family members may consider it undesirable to inherit the widow and may rather consider themselves entitled to claim his property. In Lusaka, the Zambian capital, the population of street children more than doubled from to , an increase the U.

A recent report by Save the Children - Sweden confirms AIDS as an important part of what drives children to the streets and concludes, based on extensive interviews with service providers in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia that, for the most part, "an unprotected girl working on the streets will sooner or later end up working as a prostitute. The report of this work concluded that children's being in AIDS-affected families is a consistent and strong determinant of their being forced into the workplace, often into hazardous jobs.

Street children, orphans living with poverty and stigma, children who have been deprived of their inheritance rights, and children with little prospect for realizing their right to education are all in need of special protection and are at very high risk of being victims of neglect, abuse and violence. An estimated 2.

Facing a pandemic : the African church and the crisis of HIV/AIDS, Elias K. Bongmba

In , it was estimated that about 3. Today that number is about 15 million, or about 52 percent of the population.

African Studies Review

In Facing a Pandemic, Elias K. Bongmba addresses the role of the African church in tackling what he calls "the crisis of AIDS." His main. Facing a Pandemic: The African Church and the Crisis of AIDS [Elias K. Bongmba] on pocdafourreli.ga *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Facing a Pandemic.

Agriculture employs about half the labor force in Kenya. The death of a second adult results in the loss of an estimated to percent of household income-that is, households incur debt, forcing them to liquidate assets, withdraw children from school or send children away to live with relatives.

As in many countries, there is controversy in Kenya over the number of orphans. In , the UN estimated that there were about , children under age fifteen in Kenya who had lost their mother or both parents to AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, with about , of these children still living.

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A more recent estimate of about one million AIDS orphans currently living in the country has been widely accepted, including by many experts interviewed by Human Rights Watch. The Teachers Service Commission estimates a national shortage of about 14, teachers at the primary and secondary levels, attributable in large part to AIDS deaths among teachers.

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The care and treatment needs of persons with AIDS have overwhelmed health services in some parts of the country, causing reduced access to services generally, including basic child health and survival services. In June , over stiff opposition by pharmaceutical companies, the Kenyan Parliament passed the Industrial Properties Bill, which will allow the country to import and manufacture generic antiretroviral drugs.

The rate of HIV infection in girls and young women from fifteen to nineteen years old is about six times as high as that of their male counterparts in the most heavily affected regions, 62 a pattern seen in many African countries. Although there are biological reasons why HIV transmission in this age group may be more efficient from male to female than in the opposite direction, biological reasons alone cannot account for a disparity this great. Several observers conclude that girls in this age group are catching the virus from older men, in many cases as a result of sex in which they engage to survive economically.

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Girls are more readily pulled out of school when someone in the household is ill with AIDS, as has been noted in other countries. Ministry of Education figures show that after four years of primary school in heavily AIDS-affected Nyanza Province, girls make up only 6 percent of those who are promoted to grade five.

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The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education attributed these disparities to AIDS and also noted that girls and boys passed through to grade five in roughly equal numbers twenty years ago before the epidemic's impact was felt. This practice, whereby a widow is taken in marriage by the brother or other relative of her deceased husband, traditionally provided protections to the widow and her children who might otherwise find themselves bereft of the social and economic support of a family.

The first case of HIV was diagnosed in Kenya in , 70 but concrete response on the part of the government came only years later. The countries with the ten highest reported rates of HIV infection in the world as of June were Botswana adult prevalence of 36 percent , Swaziland AIDS epidemic update, December Geneva, This method has proven to be quite reliable in estimating national prevalence. Countries in which the epidemic is not in the general population but rather confined to high-risk groups use different methods of estimation.

Agency for International Development, Nairobi: Ministry of Health, See prevalence rates of most affected countries in footnote Kimalat, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education, Nairobi, March 5, This report notes that so-called sugar daddies are an important phenomenon and are not necessarily as old as middle age but are old enough to have some kind of income.