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Please find time to comment on my final opEd draft!

Dear correspondants, editors, and midwives,
I need your comments on my final draft, so that I work on it as we are only remaining with a week.
I will very much appreciate your comments and corrections!

My OPED final draft.

There is a saying among Zambian women that AIDS can kill us in months or years but hunger can kill me tomorrow.

Despite the abstinence, be faithful and condom (ABC) awareness programs, the ministry of health launched (July 2009) the male circumcision policy with the view to reduce HIV and Aids infection. Every year new infection of HIV and AIDS are reported.

The fight against HIV and Aids can not be effective without addressing the core drivers of HIV and AIDS. Poverty, multiple concurrent partners and alcohol abuse remain core drivers of HIV and AIDS. little attention to eradicate the drivers of HIV is paid by the leaders. In as much as the leaders continue to embrace and donate millions of kwacha to new partial prevention measures male circumcision, and avoid the core drivers of the pandemic, HIV will continue to spread.

Ever since male circumcision was recommended by World Health Organization and United Nation Aids (2007) as a prevention measure, there has been calls for men to have their foreskin removed by some NGOs and the government through ministry of health. But will male circumcision which requires condom use, combat HIV and AIDS?

Professor Nkandu Lou argued that HIV and AIDS is a complex issue. The fight against HIV and AIDS has to be thought through, male circumcision alone as a strategy can not be used as an intervention to fight HIV.

Two third of the Zambian population of approximately 12million people live in abject poverty. Since the invention of HIV and AIDS in 1984, the poverty levels have continued to accumulate. In the mid 1990th the Zambian economies declined due to the privatization and closer of some companies such as mines. The Zambian government is not strongly addressing poverty situation, as thousands of people still live under unacceptable poverty conditions.

The network for strategic planning reports that, in Zambia the spread of HIV/AIDS and poverty are strongly linked. Therefore addressing HIV/AIDS issues that matter to the poor is critical to reducing the infection among the poor.

Although there is too much emphasis on male circumcision in all corners of the country, excessive alcohol intake among youths is very high. This is due to lack of employment and recreational activities to keep them busy. Thousands of youths find pleasure in drinking and this lends to most of them indulging in sexual activities. HIV and Aids continue to be high among this age group.

Women are at high risk to the male circumcision practice because the practice is uncertain. Culture has it that a man is superior and makes final decision even when it comes to sexual reproductive activities. Hence decides whether to use a condom or not. With the concept of male circumcision been a partial prevention measure, it is uncertain whether circumcised men will even think of a using a condom, since they have been assured that circumcision prevents HIV and AIDS.

A recent British medical journal (17 July 2009) new reports suggest that circumcising HIV-positive men does not reduce the risk of their female partners becoming HIV-infected. This implies that male circumcision protects a man more than a woman. Another concern is are sexually active men able to abstain within six months for their wounds to be healed of which the chances of contracting and infection are high?

International community magazine for women (IWC) 2008 conference, ICW members reported that newly circumcised men happily shared information that they can now have sex without using a condom.

Like the saying goes, HIV and AIDS can kill me in months but hunger can kill me tomorrow. With this saying hundreds of young girls and women have resorted to prostitution in the plight to make ends meet. These girls give out their bodies in exchange for money. It is important that government provide more income generating activities to meet the demands of the girl child.

I urge governments and leaders both local and international to focus on eradicating the drivers of HIV. Creation of employment, promote positive behavior change, and other effective prevention tools such as abstinence, condom use and be faithful (ABC) should be strongly considered in order to combat HIV and AIDS.

Comments

sunita.basnet's picture

Wow

Dear Dando,
I like the way you started your op ed. It's a good attention grabber. Similiarly, I like the way you urge to the government and others to implement the solution,
Keep it up. You have a strong voice.
With love

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Dando's picture

Thank you Sunnita

for believing in me. You too has a strong voice.

Love you

Dando

Dando,
You have chosen a powerful topic and you lay out the information with clarity, poise and skill.

The one thing that seems to be missing in this piece is you -- where does all of this fit into your life, your history? How do you feel about? How has your life been affected by the scourge of AIDS?

I think you have done brilliantly here, I'd just like to hear more from you!
Cristi

Dando's picture

Cristi!

Thanks for making me realize that am missing in the piece. your information was very helpful. I realized that am the one concerned about this issue and am writing to make other be aware that there is need to do something about the issue.

Thanks once again.

mrbeckbeck's picture

Great work!

Hello Dando,

I agree that you've done a wonderful job of organizing your op-ed and are skillful at clearly making your argument. I also agree that I'd like to hear a little more of your opinion and your experience...don't be shy! There's only a little bit of work that could be done on this though, since you've done such a great job!

Why do you think male circumcision was the chosen strategy if it isn't effective? Why do leaders avoid tackling the core drivers that you describe? How have you seen work been done on the core drivers you describe?

Just my thoughts and questions to get you thinking.... Hope they help! Wonderful to read your work...
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

Dando's picture

Thanks Scott

your information, it was really helpful

am not shy though!

with Love and hugz

Dando

michellee's picture

interesting

Dando,

This issue is interesting to me because I worked with a professor in college who was studying male circumcision as an intervention in the HIV/AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. I wonder about the effectiveness of an intervention that wholly ignores half of the population (women). And what is the effect of repeated exposure -- can male circumcision work in the long term? It's interesting, but I feel like resources might be better spent.

As far as your Op-Ed, it looks good! I would suggest capitalizing AIDS throughout as I think that is the common way to do it? And your opener would be stronger if you connect the two parts of your sentence by using 'us' or 'me' in both, for example: 'AIDS can kill *me in months or years but hunger can kill me tomorrow,' or 'AIDS can kill us in months or years but hunger can kill *us tomorrow.'

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this issue!

Best,
Michelle

Michelle
World Pulse Technology Associate

Dando's picture

Hi Michelle

am glad you found my topic interesting. Like you put it mc is more on the side of men than women which makes it more at risk. because most men avoid to use a condom. thanks for the corrections and advise.

with Love.

Dando

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