Health and Social Justice Issue in Saharan Country Term Paper

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Health and Social Justice Issue in Saharan Country

Mali occupies the fourth position among the poorest nations of the world. Mali is still plagued by a multitude of financial tribulations with an economy in shambles, the country's liability approximately equivalent to its GDP, at the mercy of the international donor groups, insufficient revenues of the state exchequer and pressure from various coterie groups voicing their demands. (Mali Human Rights Practices: U.S. Department of State, 1994) However, at the same time it a nation that boasts of a rich and hoary tradition. It is popular as a country marked by its multihued varied populace and harmonic tunes. Currently, it is confronted with a massive menace like AIDS, Noma and a host of tropical diseases. Mali has the world's lowest adult literacy rate of less than 25%. The country's education system is inadequately formed, especially at the primary stage. A United Nations report published in 1991 revealed that females are given less than 30% of the schooling in comparison to males in respect of the average number of years of school attended. Health specialists at the global level disapprove female circumcision as it is harmful to physical as well as psychological well-being of an individual. To this day it is rampant in Mali, particularly in the countryside, and it is done on the females in early stages of their lives. The Mali Government has not promulgated any regulation banning female circumcision; however, it backs academic exercises to ban the performance by conducting meetings and workshops. (Mali Human Rights Practices: U.S. Department of State, 1994) In spite of the regulation enforced enabling women to enjoy at par status relating to property, historical practice and lack of awareness of the regulation impedes the women from deriving the benefits of this transformation. Basic education is available only to 20% of children. (Mali Human Rights Practices: U.S. Department of State, 1994) Girl students constitute less than one-third of the Sub-Saharan averages, and close to 80% of the school-going kids in the rural sectors are not enrolled in primary school. These statistics are vital as pitiable financial situations and paltry remuneration discourage the necessity for health services, and promote situations that render the population vulnerable to infections and poor health conditions. Lack of awareness, especially among girls, worsens the health and nutrition statistics for children and this affects to the scanty birth control measures and high birth rates. (Johnston; Faure; Raney, 1998) During the year 2002, the population of Mali was 11.3 million, a whopping birth rate of 6.1 births for every women and a life expectancy of 50 years declared by a World Bank Report. (Condom Vending Machine, 2004)

Like other Sub-Saharan nations, the primary health concerns are contagious and diseases caused by parasites, and the principal reasons for loss of lives are due to common diseases that are avertable like malaria, measles, tetanus, severe infections of the respiratory tracts and diarrhea. Children and women of childbearing age are the worst affected, and health statistics reveal awful data in the rural areas compared to the urban ones. The disease Noma- which is fatal and which terribly disfigures the facial features of numerous young children are found throughout Africa. Its symptoms are hardly ever manifested in its initial phases, when administering antibiotics will be sufficient to prevent the multiplication of infection similar to gangrene that entirely damages the face and brings death to a majority of its young sufferers. Public Health Services were sparingly used by the citizens for treating skin diseases, possibly due to dearth of an appropriate response meted out by the service and cost of cure being very high. The copious incidence and acuteness of the numerous lacerations, and the accompanying uneasiness, develop pyoderma and scabies a considerable public health concern in Mali. (Mahe; Prual; Konate; Bobin, 1995) Malnutrition is an acute problem and the amount of children affected with malnutrition is frightening and a third of the children below 5 years of age and one-fourth of infants below 6 months have stunted growth. (Johnston; Faure; Raney, 1998) Mali undertakes sanitation measures and preventing the multiplication of primary infectious diseases. Concerns regarding purity and the volume of water are the primary reasons of death and illness in Mali. The occurrence of cholera, basically a water borne ailment, is one of the significant health concerns of the water scarcity in Mali. During the middle of 1996, 1,423 persons were reported to be suffering from cholera, and the death toll on this score was 172 as officially recorded in Mali, depicting a casualty rate of 12%. (Case Study: Mali Population and Water Issues) Yet another water-connected health problem in Mali is 'Onchoncerosis'. The principal reason of blindness in Mali is Onchoncerosis. Diarrhea is a major cause of concern in the realm of public health, an ailment related to improper food habit hygiene inclusive of unhealthy water conditions. It widely affects children below 5 years of age. This disease is regarded as the second highest reason for mortality in children. (Case Study: Mali Population and Water Issues)

Furthermore, the upcoming concern to which all attention must be devoted is the spread of the HIV virus that at present has attacked 5% of the population and is still mounting. People have a misconception that individuals appearing to be healthy cannot be HIV infected. The rural folk relate AIDS with witches and consider it as a reprimand for not being afraid of God. The AIDS episode has assumed epidemic proportions in the bygone 10 years and has become a foremost public health concern in Mali. According to the figures reported by UNAIDS, by the end of the 1997, 40,000 cumulative AIDS casualties have occurred in Mali and 89,000 AIDS infected people are growing with it. About 20,000 children have become orphans due to the menace of AIDS. More than 70% of the labor workforce comes from the unorganized sector due to which their susceptibility mounts to their economic demands of getting infected with the AIDS. (Mali Human Rights Practices: U.S. Department of State, 1994) People in the flesh trade are the most vulnerable to the disease along with their customers staying in the urban regions, or 21% of the population as reported by the USAD Country Profile citing Mali. It has also been calculated by UNAIDS that 55% of the adults with full-blown AIDS represent women. Specifically, young ladies inhabiting Mali constitute the high-risk group susceptible to HIV because of the female circumcision prevalent within specific racial categories and engaging in sex from early stages of their lives. Women have to frequently dwell under abject surroundings, particularly in the village localities where they have to toil in the farmlands and render post-maternal care in the squalor. (Mali Human Rights Practices: U.S. Department of State, 1994) While attaining sixteen years, 50% of the women have either been married off or lead active sexual lives, and 49% of the rural women folk are between 15 to 19 has given birth to one child at the minimum. Due to the disgrace accompanying AIDS in Mali, the women do not accept the truth regarding the disease. (Dao, 2004) Various NGOs in concert with the National AIDS Program in Mali, have undertaken researches, interacted, and functioned with the people at peril. During the year 2002, USAID funded $3.2 million in favor of HIV and AIDS programs in Mali. From 1988, Family Health International (FHI) have been enlightening sex workers and propagating the use of condoms in 15 identified brothels located in Bamako, Segou, Sikasso. During the year 2001, just 1.7% of population of Mali reported HIV positive, considered a miniscule rate of infection as compared with remaining African nations. The challenge confronting Mali entails curbing the likelihood of AIDS assuming endemic proportions. The incidence of HIV among the prostitutes came down from 39% to 23.1% within the years 1987 and 2000 but went up among the sex workers in other areas from a low of 16% to a whopping 49%. (Condom Vending Machine, 2004) Though the consciousness regarding AIDS among the Mali's adolescents is present but condom usage is minimal. 12% of the females and 50% of males within the age group of 15-19 utilize condoms. Steps have been taken to augment the distribution of condom in Mali and sales have been picking up since the USAID backup started in the year 1995. By way of behavior transformation methods, the high-risk groups, youths and community leaders have been aimed by the USAID 2000-2005 Strategy for Mali. In association with USAID, the National AIDS Program, and regional NGOs, FHI has been making people conscious in a successful manner even in a traditionalist Islamic nation where discussion regarding sex is forbidden. FHI revealed that the sex workers of Mali are agreeable in buying condoms for habitual use after they become aware of it. The USAID and FHI work towards rising consciousness and creating a robust consortium of regional NGOs and clinical care. However, giving out condoms is a component of their work, but not the core…[continue]

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