Archive for the Our Health Category

U.S. Syphilis Experiments on People of Color / Crimes Against Humanity

Posted in HISTORY, Humanity, NEWS, North America, Our Health, South America with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

From 1932 to 1972 the U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Alabama conducted a “clinical study” using poor African American sharecroppers to research the progression of untreated syphilis. Approximately 400 poor men of African descent were enticed into the program with free meals, medical exams, and burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis. They were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a term used at the time in the African American community for illness with fatigue symptoms. Actually, they were never treated. This “study” became known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or the Tuskegee Experiment.

According to a Reuters article on Oct. 1st, President Obama offered his personal apology for another syphilis experiment. This time researchers deliberately infected 696 Guatemalan women, mental patients, and prison inmates with the disease. This “study” was to learn the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis. It was conducted from 1946 to 1948.

Guatemalan government released this statement:

“President Alvaro Colom considers these experiments crimes against humanity and Guatemala reserves the right to denounce them in an international court.”

Susan Reverby, a professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts uncovered the “study” while investigating the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and informed the U.S. government before she published her findings.

South Africa’s Millennium Development Setbacks

Posted in Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , , on September 23, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Death toll of South African children under the age of five remains unchanged according to the 2010 report by an international group known as Countdown to 2015. Countdown 2015 tracks the progress of health coverage for maternal, newborn, and child mortality in reaching Millennium Development Goals, MDGs. The MDGs are internationally agreed on goals set by the Millennium Project and adopted by experts from the United Nations, IMF, OECD, and the World Bank.

South Africa is in danger of not meeting Goal 4 and 5. Goal 4 is to reduce child mortality of children under age five by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Goal 5 is to improve maternal health within the same time frame. AIDS related illnesses are the highest cause of all deaths in South Africa. Statistics South Africa, a government agency, estimate there will be 410,000 new HIV infections in 2010, with 10 percent being children.

Economic disparities also hinder the progress in achieving these goals. Mortality rates are four times higher for those living in poverty than for other children. Apartheid caused high poverty rates for 80 percent of the population. South Africa is still economically divided. Solutions are needed to end discrimination and inequality of healthcare for poor South Africans.

Life in the Slums of Kibera

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , on September 19, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Imagine your baby falling to the floor onto a sheet of reused plastic as he enters the world. Imagine no one is there to catch him.  No doctors, or midwives, to assure his safe arrival, only well meaning neighbors. This is how babies born poor come into the Kenyan slum of Kibera.

Families in slums often consist of mothers with no husbands; no jobs; no money. Children of these slums exists with no food; no education; no future. Husbands wonder in and out. They have lost hope of being a providing husband and father. They are the product of growing up in slums without learning productive skills. They are the sons of fathers who like them had nothing to pass on. They are the husbands of women who out of necessity have had to be the backbone of the family.

Hopelessness is the biggest threat in slums. Without hope what is there? There is the lack of opportunity and the promise of death. Without hope, people are vulnerable to crime, imprisonment, and the spread of disease.

Child Brides of East and West Africa

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , , on September 16, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Why would a man marry a child? In Africa girls as young as 7 are forced to marry men age 20 and over. At this age children’s minds and bodies are still developing. Forcing children to perform as adults is abusive. As a result girls suffer both mentally and physically. At age 7 girls should be in school and at play. These functions are important in development. Because their bodies are not developed enough for sex or giving birth tears between their bladder, vagina, and rectum occur. This condition is called obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula robs thousands of girls of urine and bowel control. She is then rejected by both her husband and community. The problem does not stop there. Left untreated it could lead to infections, kidney failure, and death. Other problems that occur are:

  • Children of child brides are at higher risk of developmental diseases.
  • Child brides are at higher risks of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Child brides are not educated.
  • Child brides often have at least 5 children.
  • Child brides often live in poverty.
  • Child brides often endure abuse from their husbands and in-laws.
  • Child brides suffer high mortality rates.

Marrying young girls is a violation of human rights. When sex is involved it is legalized rape of a child. Even in countries where it is not legal, it is accepted, and often expected. Parents are willing to sell their daughters into marriage because girls are not valued as much as boys. In many countries this is just the start of limited rights for women. The role of women is often reduced to:

  • Providing sex
  • Giving birth
  • Performing hard labor

Africa: Facing Water & Sanitation Problems

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , on August 12, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Africa is the second driest continent in the world. Over half of the African population is without access to a safe water supply. Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water is accessible for human use. Therefore, over 80 countries experience complications due to the lack of fresh water.

Fresh water is essential for and interlinked with:

  • Health
  • Food
  • Sanitation

In the developing countries of Africa, as much as 90% of waste water goes without treatment into rivers and streams. Water-borne diseases causes up to 80% of illness and deaths. Seeing people bathe in the same water source as others use to cook, is a common scene.

Fresh water is required for in one’s dietary needs for drinking as well as agricultural irrigation. Droughts cause hunger crisis when food production is low.

The number of people living with water shortages is expected to grow in the coming years.

EndMalaria.org: World Vision’s Campaign to End Malaria

Posted in Mother Africa, Our Health, Spotlight with tags , , , on August 6, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

End Malaria is part of World Vision’s global effort to end preventable child deaths. Over 24,000 children under age 5 will die in a day from preventable diseases. A global movement of governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and average citizens are responding to make a difference.

There is a solution! Malaria prevention and treatment options include:

  • Distributing insecticide-treated bed nets
  • Educating communities
  • Managing the environment
  • Treating pregnant mothers
  • Providing anti-malaria drugs
  • Providing case management and referrals to patients

World Vision is asking for your help. Join the campaign to hold governments and world leaders to their promises to distribute these low- cost solutions.

via EndMalaria.org: World Vision’s Campaign to End Malaria.

HIV/AIDS, WOMEN, AND AFRICA

Posted in CULTURE, Mother Africa, Our Health, Spotlight with tags , on July 23, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Sub-Sahara Africa has the largest population of HIV/AIDS world-wide. An estimated 23 million people carry HIV. An estimated 60% of them are women. Since the onset of the epidemic, over 14 million children have lost their mothers to Aids.

UN Secretary, Kofi Annan said,

“Between 1999 and 2000 more people died of AIDS in Africa than in all the wars on the continent.”

Women and girls are disproportionately affected for several reasons:

  1. Sexual Exploitation
  2. High Occurrence of Rape
  3. Traditions Allowing the Purchase of Women
  4. Lack of Education
  5. Gender Inequality
  6. Gender Violence
  7. Access to Prevention
  8. Stigmas on Wives Who Complain About Philandering Husbands

‘Sugar Daddy’ is the sexual exploitation of young girls age 15 to 19 by older men.

‘Lobola’ is the tradition allowing men to purchase wives.

‘ABC’ prevention (Abstain, Be faithful, or use a Condom) offers monogamous married women with no choices in the epidemic of sexual violence, rape, and gender inequality.

Female condoms give women prevention options if their partners refuse to use male condoms. An outer ring is visible and may be pulled out by an attacker. Some women feel self-conscious using them. Some women feel they are difficult to insert or remove.

The International AIDS Conference in Vienna announced a new anti-HIV gel for women that cuts the risk of transmission in half.