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08.04.2004 General News

Africans are undecided on resources to fight AIDS

By GNA

Accra, April 8, GNA - In spite of the dire consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, Africans seemed undecided about whether their governments should divert scarce resources from other priorities to fight the disease in their countries, a recent Survey Report has indicated. A copy of the report copied to the GNA said: "...Ordinary Africans have not yet grasped AIDS' full collective social, economic or political significance as poor people demote AIDS to a low priority problem behind more immediate pressing concerns like jobs or hunger.

Across 15 African countries surveyed in an independent, non-partisan research project code-named: Afrobarometer, the research said large proportions of people especially in East and Southern Africa had either lost family members or friends to AIDS, or suffered under the burdens of AIDS by caring for a sick family member or orphans.

The Survey, which sampled over 23,000 respondents, under the tutelage of the Institute of Democracy in South Africa, the Centre for Democratic Development in Ghana and the Michigan State University was aimed at measuring the social, economic and political atmosphere in societies in transitions in West, East and Southern Africa.

Asked to mention three major problems facing their countries - the 15 countries surveyed - just one in 10 respondents (11 per cent) mentioned "AIDS".

In Botswana 30 per cent of respondents said AIDS should be considered a priority issue, whereas in Ghana only three per cent said so.

It said in East Africa 85 per cent of Ugandans and 66 per cent of Kenyans told Afrobarometer interviewers that they had lost at least one close friend or relative to the pandemic.

"In Southern Africa, three quarters of Zambians (74 per cent) and seven out of 10 Namibians (71 per cent) and six in 10 Malawians (57 per cent) said they had lost someone," the Survey suggested.

The figures for West Africa were generally considerably lower, ranging from one in five Ghanaians (19 per cent) to one in 10 Nigerians (11 per cent).

The Research noted that poverty constituted one of the factors that influenced the people's conception of the AIDS problem. 8 April 04

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