August 12, 2004

Zimbabwe, yet again

Regular visitors will have noticed that I am fascinated by Zimbabwe. It is sort of like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You just can't look away. That same elusive creature, the regular reader, might also have noticed that I am also very concerned about the impact of AIDS in the developing nations of the world. Well, today, the NY Times brought both of these topics together in an article about AIDS in Zimbabwe. As is my habit, I extract for you here those bits from the article which caught my attention. But first, a quick review of the thrust of the article.

The article is a snap shot of the effects of bad governance on AIDS. Briefly, people in Zimbabwe are suffering from AIDS at an enormously high rate but international organizations are reluctant to assist Zimbabwe because one, the present government will likely divert or steal the aid money and two, manipulate the aid for political ends. No one trusts the government, no one wants to throw money into that pit of despair.

Here are some of the statistics that stood out:

*In Zimbabwe, where 1.8 million people are H.I.V. positive and 360,000 need life prolonging antiretroviral drugs, virtually the only ones who get them are the 5,000 who can afford them. Relief workers here estimate that fewer than 1,000 Zimbabweans receive antiretroviral drugs free through government or charitable programs, with little hope of expanding that number.

*Zimbabwe, where roughly one in four adults is infected with H.I.V. and more than 2,500 people a week die of AIDS.

*The plight of this nation of more than 11 million people is evident at Harare Central Hospital, where workers say just 23 patients are receiving antiretroviral treatment and no more can be started until next year because of lack on money. It is obvious at the Parirenyatwa city hospital, where, local news reports say, the morgue reeks of bodies of AIDS victims whose relatives cannot afford to bury them. And it can be seen at one seven-year-old cemetery south of Harare, where more than 14,000 people have already been buried just 18 inches apart, and workers say they dig about 25 graves each day.

It is a hell of a situation. The only question left to ask is: when do you think that entire society will disintegrate?

Posted by Random Penseur at August 12, 2004 09:02 AM

"when do you think that entire society will disintegrate?"

Dunno. When do you think Mugabe can be kicked out? It'll hopefully start about then.

Posted by: Helen at August 12, 2004 09:15 AM

Will anyone care?? Will the UN or western countries give a hoot??? What will happen to the orphaned children?? Is this a modern day "Bleak House?"

Posted by: Azalea at August 12, 2004 03:24 PM

I don't think that a lot of people care at all. And the children are just doomed.

Posted by: RP at August 13, 2004 04:38 PM
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