(e) HIV/AIDS, MALARIA, AND TUBERCULOSIS In AFRICA

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is airborne. The disease affects mostly people living in third world countries. 90% of all reported cases in the world are found in third world countries. The most vulnerable people to suffer from Tuberculosis are people with HIV/ AIDS. Research has shown that an HIV positive person is 20 to 37 times more likely to suffer from Tuberculosis than a HIV negative person is. Poor technology and health facilities have been blamed for hindering efforts made to curb the spread of the disease. In addition, slow and sometimes erratic response s to the disease has increased the challenge, because new strains of the disease are cropping out and they are resistant to the drugs that are available currently.

For a disease that was eradicated in the United States in 1949, malaria is one of the leading killer diseases in Africa. For many people in this region a simple bite from the mosquito can have fatal consequences.  Malaria is cited to kill approximately 3-4 million children annually. The most affected people include children, pregnant women, and infants in Africa. The effect of the disease has been cited to cost the continent an estimated $12 billion annually, because of the lost trade, productivity, and tourism.

Although HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis are preventable diseases, they have a very devastating impact on many poor countries especially in Africa. The sub- Saharan Africa accounts for over 90% of all malaria deaths in the world, close to one-third of all reported TB cases and two thirds of all people infected with the HIV virus. The impact the three diseases has had on the continent is undeniable, the social and economic effect they had had on the region is huge and calls for action to be taken. For example HIV and AIDS threaten to wipe a whole generation when they are still in their productive years. These diseases are also cause loss of workforce and breadwinners.

Various programs and strategies have been adopted by the governments of these countries to fight the diseases. Some of these strategies have proven to be affordable, effective and are helping save millions of lives every year. One such example is the partnership governments have had with various non-governmental agencies and other government in educating their population about the diseases. Another thing that has been helpful is establishment of various programs such as the Global Fund and PEPFAR, which have helped to reduce the cost of medication. HIV diagnosis is currently no longer a death sentence in many third world countries. According to a report, in 2010, over five million people were receiving antiretroviral drugs compared to less than 50,000 in 2002. Tuberculosis treatment has also helped reduce the number of deaths in many third world countries. Between 1995 and 1998, over 36 million cases of Tuberculosis were treated. Effort is being made to prevent the spread of these 3 diseases. The Global Fund alone has given out over 230 million bed nets to families and over 1.3 million pregnant women have been given HIV medicine to prevent mother to child transmission of the virus this is up from just 150000 mothers who received the treatment in 2004.

The facts about malaria can be summarized as follows

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
  • Malaria caused about 700,000 to 1million deaths annually, mostly among African children.
  • Malaria is preventable and curable.
  • Increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.
  • Malaria can decrease gross domestic product by as much as 1.3% in countries with high disease rates.
  • Non-immune travelers from malaria-free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they are infected (WHO, 2011).
  • The facts about Tuberculosis according to the 2011 fact sheet by WHO states that:
  • More than 2 billion people, equal to one-third of the world’s population, are infected with TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB. 1 in 10 people infected with TB bacilli will become sick with active TB in their lifetime.
  • TB is a leading killer of people with HIV. People who are HIV-positive and infected with TB are 20 to 40 times more likely to develop active TB than people not infected with HIV living in the same country
  • THE TB TARGETS FOR 2015 UN Millennium Development Goals: to have halted and begun to reverse incidence Current assessment On target in all WHO regions though incidence is falling slowly.
  • 1.8 million people died from TB in 2008, including 500 000 people with HIV - equal to 4500 deaths a day TB is a disease of poverty affecting mostly young adults in their most productive years. (WHO, 2011).
  • The vast majority of TB deaths are in the developing world, and more than half of all deaths occur in Asia.
  • The estimated global incidence rate fell to 139 cases per 100 000 population in 2008 after peaking in 2004 at 143 cases per 100 000. Rates are falling very slowly in 5 WHO regions (the rate is stabilizing in Europe). The total number of deaths and cases is still rising due to population growth.
  • TB is contagious and spreads through the air. If not treated, each person with active TB infects on average10 to 15 people every year.
  • There were 5.7 million TB case notifications in 2008. 36 million people were cured in DOTS (WHO, 2011).