Kofi A. Annan - “AIDS Has a Woman’s Face”
Africa is the second largest continent in the world; as of 2009 the population is over a billion people. Africans account for fourteen percent of the world’s population. Even though Africa has many resources, it remains the poorest and most underdeveloped continent on the planet. There are several reasons for this, but Annan’s article focuses on one: AIDS.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a progressive disease attacking the immune system, leaving its victim highly susceptible to infections. It is spread through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, contaminated needles, breastfeeding, and during pregnancy and childbirth.
An estimated 24% of adults in Botswana are living with HIV. (aidsandafrica.com) Three quarters of deaths from AIDS world wide occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, there are 15 million children orphaned by AIDS Worldwide; 11.4 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. (aidsandafrica.com)
Annan believes Africa will not thrive without the empowerment of the farmers; those farmers are primarily women. The United Nations, where Annan has worked for four decades; knows that women play a crucial role in the socioeconomic status of their families. Because of diseases such as AIDS, farming skills are being lost. Children are no longer continuing their family farms, but forced to survive on their own, after the deaths of their parents. Without the farming, there is famine. The result is millions of starving people.
Unfortunately, millions of African women are directly impacted by AIDS. Famine is also a part of the equation. Women infected with AIDS equals fewer farms; fewer farms equals less food, less food equals the starvation of millions. Unlike other regions, the majority of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (61%) are women.
Annan proposes a way to fight back against this disease that is now killing over 2.5 million Africans a year. It would require large scale orphanages, schools,...