Thursday, March 01, 2007

New, Low-Cost, Anti-Malaria Drug

Malaria has been, and continues to be a huge problem for many Africans. Around 3 million people per year die from the disease, most of those people are from Africa. Even worse, about 1 million of those deaths are African children. To try and help solve this problem, (or at least subside it), Europe's largest pharmaceutical company, Sanofi-Aventis and a non-profit organization, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI) have come together to create and distribute a low-cost drug to fight malaria. The drug contains two medications, therefore to help increase the likelihood of killing the parasite. Set at a low-cost most Africans will be able to purchase the drug. Why not make it free? Many Africans say that making it free makes them suspicious of the drugs intent, and putting a price on it that they can afford will be more popular with the population. Malaria is such a large problem, but has been solved by an easy-fix, a cheap drug that contains two medications instead of one. Getting Africa back on track is going to take a lot more than just selling drugs at a low cost, but at the same time helping the smaller issues and leaving the larger ones to Africa, such as civil war and corruption will help get their population strong enough to fight their own battles and win.

A Ban on Some Traditions is Essential

I chose this article so that people do not forget what happened in London on September 21st, 2001. The torso of an unidentified little boy "Adam" washed up in the Thames River. Massive media coverage was initiated, but today, have people forgotten?

Ritual killings and mutilations are still events that happen too often in some African countries. Some individuals believe that these disgusting acts will bring them good fortune. When people try to contact the police about these problems, they encounter barriers that disable them from taking further actions. The countries do not want to admit that this sort of behavior takes place on their land to them because it will cast them in an unfavorable light. One Gabonese citizen has finally been able to put a group together to speak up against this issue. The American embassy helped host the event, which is exactly the kind of assistance that many people need in Africa: the sort that will directly benefit the people.

I believe that Africans should be able to keep their traditional ways, as long as it does not hurt others! Human sacrifices are unacceptable, no matter what! The fact that governments do not actively pursue these criminals is truly appalling. In addition, something else that must not be forgotten is that public human sacrifices, not conducted out of belief that one will benefit from them, but rather out of pure evil, go on every day. One example is the LRA, led by Joseph Kony. When will these evildoers be stopped? When will justice be done? Should we be concerned or should we let these injustices happen? Personally, I believe this is a tragedy and we (the West) must absolutely do something about this!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Ceasefire That Ceases To Exist

33 minutes before I began reading this article, the six-month old ceasefire between the Ugandan Government, and its rebellious combatant for nearly 20 years, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), became defunct. This may come as a bit of a shock to many, including myself, who were unaware that ceasefire's had end dates when the problem is clearly ongoing. Although there were recent difficulties arising between the two parties, most notably involving the LRA's indictments from the International Criminal Court (ICC), it is beyond me why all other options have not been exhaustively persued in the days leading up to today. This raises the frightening question (although much more frightening for Ugandans) of "What happens next?". Probably, both sides are currently preparing to attack each other, or perhaps the attacks have already begun, less than an hour after the ceasefire has been ceased. While it is very clear that there had not been much recent progress in terms of negotiations, the sheer brutality and overbearing length of the civil war recently halted would seem, in my mind, to be enough to deter both sides from immediate conflict. Nevertheless, the prospects are grim, as we are likely to be forced to yet again open the book on Ugandan civil war and write in it another tragic chapter.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Stick to making wine...It's time to leave Africa to Africa

The “scramble for Africa” is on, indeed. Here’s another story about international concerns influencing Africa. This situation is a little different than China’s involvement, though. Here, the former colonial giant, France, is continuing to ensure its influence on the African continent with their annual Franco-African summit. France is committed to continuing aid, debt relief, humanitarian assistance, et cetera, to Africa. How nice.
But there might be a problem here. Does anyone else think France has maybe done enough and should consider leaving Africa alone? The trouble is that France, (and other international, well-meaning aid givers) tend to “help” through the institutions of the established state in African nations. But, consider this quote from the article:

"For the average African, the state is the enemy," says Richard Cornwell, a political analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. "But very often, outside countries, such as France and China, tend to strengthen the state, which is the exact opposite of what the Africans want and need."

Maybe what Africa really needs is a chance to get back on its feet without foreign meddling. It’s not that France is really an evil conspirator, trying to reestablish effective colonial control via international corporations or whatever. It’s just that things like profit have a way of getting between good intentions and net results. Or am I just being paranoid?