Monday, August 9, 2010

Public and Relgious Health Policies

AIDS is taking a brutal toll on the young and sexually active population in Sub-Saharan Africa. Countries like Nigeria have to adopt public policies today to continue and reduce infections and be able to build on its biggest asset: the population under 25. Africa is the "youngest continent": 35% of the population are under 25.The human, medical, and economic costs of AIDS infections can become too much to bear for an emerging society. Decades of development can be erased by AID/HIV since its treatment will impose huge medical costs and decimate the future workforce. Nigeria has kept its AIDS infection rate for adults between 15 and 49% at 3.1%. This is low compared to other African countries such as Swaziland (26.1%), Botswana (23.9%), Lesotho (23.2%), South Africa (18.2%) and Zimbabwe (15.3%).

It is smart policy to use every opportunity (even highway signs!) to warn of the dangers of AIDS/HIV. And while one can find much to criticize about the divisiveness of religion in Africa it is a community-based organization that has the potential to do much good. The sign on AIDS prevention above was found prominently displayed at the Abuja National Mosque.

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