A clash is occurring across the global South over the future of urban planning and the ever-growing slums of the world’s megacities. This will be a decisive clash of visions: should cities flatten slums and relocate their residents, or work with slum dwellers, acknowledge the role they play in city economies and improve their lives with better dwellings?
As the world turned into a majority urban place in the 2000s, cities grew at a phenomenal rate. The cities of Africa and Asia are growing by a million people a week, according to some estimates. Megacities and sprawling slums will be the hallmarks of this new urban world, it seems. In sub-Saharan Africa, 72 percent of the population already lives in slum conditions.
The danger of building unsafe or makeshift homes can be seen in 2010’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, where many buildings collapsed, killing thousands.
One of the Philippines’ leading architects and urban planners, Felino A. Palafox Jr. of Palafox Associates (www.palafoxassociates.com), is passionate about re-making the slums in his country’s capital, Manila. The city is prone to devastating and sometimes deadly flooding. Palafox believes the vulnerability of slum dwellings and poor urban planning are placing lives at risk.
“We can’t wait for another tragedy,” Palafox told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 2010. “We have seen how an unprecedented volume of rainfall like what (storm) Ondoy had brought could prove too much for Metro Manila’s river and drainage system. We have also seen what a massive earthquake could do to an unprepared city like Haiti.
“While there is nothing that we could do to control the destructive power of these natural phenomena, there are steps that we could take to limit the amount of damage.”
If the rapid growth in urban populations is to be safe and sustainable, then new dwellings will need to be built that meet high standards of durability.
The UN Challenge of Slums report from 2003 (www.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=1156) broke with past orthodoxy that slums must be cleared, arguing that slums should be seen as positive economic forces, incubators for budding entrepreneurs that offer a gateway to better things for new migrants.
Muhammad Khadim of UN-Habitat summed up the new thinking:
“Ten years ago, we used to dream that cities would become slum-free,” he said. But “the approach has changed. People see the positives. The approach now is not to clear them but to improve them gradually (and) regularise land tenure.”
The arguments behind embracing slums come from the economic changes across developing countries since the 1970s. Growing informal economies combined with fewer social provisions and the shift to urban from rural communities have all contributed to the explosion in slums and informal housing.
Manila is a city of stark and startling contrasts: there are glitzy shopping malls and high-rise office buildings, but also large slums and hungry people begging and selling trinkets on the city’s roads.
It’s a place where the slum clearance-vs-renovation debate is hot and current. The Philippines is currently in the midst of a campaign to clear slums in Manila and move people back to the countryside.
“Many of our people are no longer interested in agriculture, so we need to give them incentives to go back,” Cecilia Alba, head of the national Housing and Urban Development Co-ordinating Council, told the New Statesman magazine. “If we had to rehouse the slum-dwellers inside Manila in medium-rise housing, it would cost a third of the national budget.”
Palafox has a different vision – rebuilding a slum community from top to bottom.
An architect, environmental planner, urban planner and development consultant, Palafox runs one of the top architecture firms in the Philippines, employing more than 100 staff and consultants.
Usually occupied with office buildings in the go-go new business centres of the Middle East and Asia, Palafox has turned his attention to Estero de San Miguel, a Manila slum that is home to some 1,200 families, or 6,000 people.
Families are packed into tiny rooms in a labyrinthine slum complex beside a canal. The rooms are made of wood and floored with linoleum and have to be accessed through a narrow tunnel and tight connecting corridors.
Palafox’s plan is to work with the residents and rebuild it in its current location. In place of makeshift shacks will come modular homes, 10 square metres in size with space for shops and bicycle parking.
The design has the homes extend above a walkway, imitating the way the original slum structures were built.
Palafox is applying innovative thinking to the problem: taking his design direction from the dwellings slum residents build: “The slum-dwellers,” he explained to the New Statesman, “are experts at live-work space design. They spontaneously do mixed-use! We just have to learn from them.”
Re-housing the residents on site means they can continue to play their role in the city’s economy, and do not have to make a long commute to jobs and opportunities.
Palafox also rebuts complaints about the cost of his plan, arguing the scale of corruption in the Philippines costs just as much.
“OK, the total cost of rehousing slum-dwellers in situ is 30 per cent of GDP (but) I calculate we lose about 30 per cent of the country’s wealth through corruption. If we didn’t have corruption, we wouldn’t need to tolerate slums.”
“We have to recognize the value of slum-dwellers to the city,” he said. “These are the ones who drive your car, clean your house and run your store. If these people were cleared from the city, the city would die. Slum-dwellers add social, political and economic value to the city.”
Even in its current form, Estero de San Miguel is a vibrant place, with an Internet café and a volunteer police force.
A BBC report found it lively and economically viable because it has educational and communication technologies that improve living conditions. The residents make their living working as cheap labour for the city.
Oliver Baldera, a carpenter, lives with his wife and four children:
“We’ve been here more than 10 years,” he told the New Statesman. “There’s no choice.
“It’s easier to get a job here and I can earn 400 pesos a day. I can send the kids to school and they eat three times a day – but it’s not enough. I need more space.”
Published: September 2011
1) More Urban, Less Poor: The first textbook to explore urban development and management and challenge the notion unplanned shanty towns without basic services are the inevitable consequence of urbanization. Website:http://www.earthscan.co.uk/?tabid=649 2) Slum Populations in the Developing World: See a breakdown of the urban/slum population in developing nations. Website:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/5078654.stm 3) Architecture for Humanity: An NGO to promote architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises. Website:http://architectureforhumanity.org/ 5) Building and Social Housing Foundation: The Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) is an independent research organisation that promotes sustainable development and innovation in housing through collaborative research and knowledge transfer. Website:http://www.bshf.org 6) NGO called Map Kibera began work on an ambitious project to digitally map Africa’s largest slum, Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. Website:http://www.mapkibera.org 7) ArrivalCity: The Final Migration and Our Next World by Doug Saunders. Website:http://www.arrivalcity.net 8) Slum TV: Based deep inside Nairobi’s largest slum, Mathare, they have been seeking out the stories of hope where international media only see violence and gloom. Website:http://www.slum-tv.org 9) A Kenyan eco-village is helping slum dwellers to start new lives and increase their wealth. The community, Kaputei, is being built by former slum residents – some of whom used to beg to survive – and is providing new homes with electricity, running water and services like schools and parks. By building their own homes, with the help of affordable mortgage loans, the residents are able to make a big upgrade to their quality of life while acquiring real wealth. Website:http://www.jamiibora.org 8) Cities for All shows how the world’s poor are building ties across the global South. Website:http://globalurbanist.com/2010/08/24/cities-for-all-shows-how-the-worlds-poor-are-building-ties-across-the-global-south.aspx
Manila, Philippines – More than 2,500 delegates have gathered in the steamy hot Philippine capital to renew the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Working up a sweat alongside other participants at the Fourth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific are nine Mongolians – a first that isn’t going unnoticed.
The Congress opened Saturday (October 25) to the pounding beat of a theme song performed by teenagers, championing defiance of death and celebration of life.
That tone was echoed by Dr Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. He said the epidemic can be slowed down with the right public health measures – a positive message for Mongolia as it grapples with an STD crisis that many believe leaves the country at risk of an HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The magnitude of that epidemic outside Mongolia is startling. Around the world, 23 million people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Between 5 and 7 million of them live in the Asia/Pacific region.
“The point is that prevention is feasible,” Piot told the Congress. “The results can be seen in those countries in the Asia-Pacific region where the epidemic has stalled or is in retreat.
“A good indicator for unsafe sexual behaviour is the STD rate. I am impressed at the sustained decline in STD rates in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand over the past decade.
“But I am concerned actual declines in HIV in this region have occurred only in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand.”
The countries to Mongolia’s immediate south and north are experiencing exploding health crises. In China, HIV/AIDS is increasing at a rapid rate due to factors including growing prostitution, drug use and travel – all by-products of a booming economy. The infected population is estimated at 400,000 and is expected to reach 1.2 million by the year 2000, according to China’s national AIDS committee.
To the north in Russia, a complete collapse in the public health system has dramatically slashed life expectancy and led to an upsurge in many diseases, including tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
With many Mongolians doing business in both these countries, there are numerous opportunities for AIDS to enter the country.
A wide range of topics is under discussion at the gathering, with women, youth and STD-control measures of particular interest to the Mongolian delegates.
For the Mongolians, the Congress is an opportunity to learn from other countries’ successes and failures in the fight against AIDS.
Mongolia’s nine-member delegation includes four doctors – Dr K. Davaajav, head of the AIDS/STD Department of the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases, Health Ministry representative Dr S. Enkhbat. Medical University director Dr Lkhagvasuren and Dr Darisuren from the United Nations Population Fund.
Also in the team are Democrat MPs B. Delgermaa and Saikhanbileg, UNICEF’s B. Bayarmaa and two representatives from women’s NGOs: S. Tsengelmaa from the Women’s Information and Research Centre and N. Chinchuluun, executive director of the Mongolian Women Lawyers Association.
On Sunday, several presentations focused on the difficulties of getting people to use condoms.
In Fiji, studies found the majority of the population was aware of AIDS and had access to condoms, but still chose not to use them.
Lisa Enriquez, a Filipino woman who is HIV-positive, gave a sobering speech on the epidemic.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned from the epidemic is human nature. AIDS is such a humanizing disease. It reminds us of being human, complete with all the weaknesses and imperfections of being human.
“Let us not kid ourselves: changing behaviour is not easy. One doesn’t change because somebody tells him or her to do so.
“We will need to get our act together, institutionalize our efforts and continue working harder with passion and perserverance.”
“The Fourth International Congress on AIDS and Asia in the Pacific convened 3,000 scientists, people working in the communities, and people living with HIV/AIDS to discuss the state of AIDS in Asia and the Pacific and how the problem is being addressed now and into the future. The following topics addressed at the Congress are explored: the extent of the HIV epidemic, HIV risk behaviors, women and HIV, clinical manifestations of HIV infection, antiretroviral therapy, and perinatal HIV transmission. HIV is spread differently among these countries and a nation’s wealth largely determines its ability to execute prevention programs and patient access to therapy. Most patients in Asia pay for their own medications. It is hoped that more prosperous and technologically advanced nations will demonstrate stronger leadership and commitment in the fight against AIDS in the region.” Phanuphak P. Fourth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. J Int Assoc Physicians AIDS Care. 1998 Feb;4(2):22-5. PMID: 11365085.
Manila, Philippines – Since HIV is contracted through sex, the disease has always been a difficult subject for the world’s religious leaders. When there is sex to be discussed, no religion can do it without bringing up morality.
This moral debate about bedroom behaviour has tainted discussion of AIDS in many countries. At the extreme end of the spectrum, some evangelical Christian leaders in the US have painted AIDS as an apocalyptic disinfectant for humanity.
Not surprisingly, this attitude has not helped in educating the faithful that AIDS can happen to anyone and its victims should be treated like any other ill person.
The Philippine conference heard that the standoff between the world’s leaders and public health authorities must stop. Dr Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, pointed to the numerous delegates from the world’s religions and called on others to follow their example.
“In Myanmar, the Myanmar Council of Churches, the YWCA and other community-based organizations have joined hands with local authorities, health workers and Buddhist groups for community-based prevention, care and support programmes,” he told the assembly.
“This is the best practice in action.”
Mongolian delegate Dr Altanchimeg thinks a similar approach could work in this country.
“Now every Mongolian goes to see lamas. It’s a good channel to advocate for AIDS education. In Thailand, lamas are very experienced at this. People believe in lamas.”
Like their colleagues in Thailand and Myanmar, Cambodian lamas have been in the forefront of AIDS education.
Lamas there use festivals and ceremonies to raise the issue.
You Chan, a 30-year-old lama from Tol Sophea Khoun monestary in Phnom Penh, likes to raise the issue delicately, by referring to diseases in Buddha’s time.
“I feel it is difficult to speak about sexual methods with a large audience – I will not speak to sexual methods.
“At first, it was very difficult. People would ask why a monk would say such things. But I tried and tried and the people understood who is helping them.
“My message to Mongolia’s lamas is this: you have a moral responsibility to educate the people about AIDS, that it is happening all around the world and there is no medicine to cure it.
“You have to take care in the name of Buddhism to help people in this world.”
You Chan teaches lamas at 15 temples in Cambodia, who pass the message along to other lamas and congregations.
Red stripe is a symbol of solidarity with millions and millions of AIDS-infected, to take care after them and to join in a battle against of this disease.
Message from the Editor
“Information and education are the most powerful instruments to protect our planet from AIDS”. This quotation is found in the introduction of one of the international organisation against AIDS.
The Mongolian delegation participated in the 4th Conference on the AIDS issue in Manila on 24-29 October brought this idea back home. Mongolians admit a lack of adequate information. Therefore we have decided to publish this magazine to support efforts AIDS . Also it would be the bridge in the battle against AIDS between Mongolian Government and Mongolian people.
We would like to acknowledge the UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Douglas Gardner, Support Officer to Resident Co-ordinator, UNDP Mr. Jerry van Mourik and Mr. Nicholas Bates for the financial support and Mr. David South, Information Specialist UNDP for the initiative to produce this magazine and for their valuable professional assistance.
We also acknowledge Mr. Sh. Enkhbat, Secretary of the National AIDS Committee, Mr. H. Davaajav, Head of the department against AIDS/STD of the Infection Dicease Research Centre, Ms. Narantuya, correspondent of the newspaper “Mongol Messenger” for their encouragement and support.
Since this is our first issue, we recognise there will be mistakes. Your comments and valuable criticism are very welcome. We hope that with your assistance our magazine would have its own feature stories in the near future and we look forward receiving letters and photos from you.
We wish you good health and success in your work.
AIDS update news
According to the latest report from UNAIDS Programme a number of AIDS virus infected people has reached to more than 30 millions. Comparing with the number of infected people in 1996 – 22,6 millions it increases by 19 %.
It is said in a report that “this is much large number”.
CNN news reports that 1 out of 100 sexually active population of age from 16 to 49 is infected by AIDS virus. Only 1 out of 10 AIDS virus infected is aware of this fact.
Prime Minister called for parents to talk about AIDS hazard with children at least one time
On a World day of battling against AIDS the Prime Minister of Mongolia called for parents to talk about AIDS danger with children at least one time in order to prevent from the epidemic of this century – AIDS.
Prior to the World day of battling against AIDS a first session of the National Committee to battle against AIDS took place in Ulaanbaatar. Prime minister of Mongolia underlined in his speech on this session the importance given by Mongolia to the need to battle against this disease through a setting of National Committee headed by the Prime Minster in a full awareness of the hazard of the disease encountered by the world community:
“ International experts have identified that in nations facing socio-economic transitions there is a base for AIDS dissemination. On the other hand, although a great experience has bee accumulated by Mongolia in battling of sexually-transmitted diseases (STD,) in circumstances of this time it becomes vital to change the ways and methods of battling”.
The first session of the National Committee has advised to youth and health organizations to consider the establishing of mutual trust and understanding with the people of risk group (vulnerable group) who are vulnerable to this disease one of areas of battling activities, .as well as stressed the need for cooperation and participation of citizenry, institutions of all levels of the society.
Also the Prime Minister pointed out that since of its dissemination the “disease put on a stake the existence or collapse of a specific nation”, that’s why AIDS battling it is not a matter of health sector employees.
Prime Minster highly appreciated UN cooperation in provided support and participation to the Government of Mongolia in battling of AIDS and STD.
Government of Mongolia is to cooperate with UN in battling against AIDS
In June of 1997 the Government of Mongolia and UN organizations concluded a Memorandum of understanding to undertake joint activities in battling against AIDS, STD and Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV).
At late of November the Project team was established to undertake this joint Programme. The team comprises of H. Enhjargal, National Coordinator, Nicholas Bates, Health Consultant and B. Oyun, Project staff member.
According to Enhjargal, the main objective of the Team is to coordinate health, education, media and NGOs in implementing of the Programme, to increase public participation in battling of AIDS, to change a wrong approach considering this matter a matter of few doctors and to move it to public-oriented.
AIDS battling National Committee established
By a Resolution of the Government of October 29, 1997 National Committee to battle against AIDS was set up headed by Prime Minister M. Enhsaihan; L. Zorig, Minister of Health and Social Welfare is a deputy Chair; Also Ministers of Finance, Justice, Education, Chief of Radio and TV as well as other key relevant officials.
Sub regional session took place in Ulaanbaatar
On November 11-13 1997, a consultative session of North Eastern Asian nations such as People’s Republic of China and Mongolia was taken place in Ulaanbaatar to discuss issues of AIDS. The session arranged jointly by UNDP Office Mongolia and Ministry of Health and Social Welfare discussed a project to prevent from battle against AIDS in North Eastern Asian nations. Within the frame of this UN-funded worth 400.000 US D for a duration of 3 year the activities to speed up research work against AIDS; to exchange the staff; to provide with publicity materials and to enroll into training media representatives in this area will be undertaken.
Mongolia first ever time participated in Regional Conference
Mongolian delegation first ever time participated in 4th Conference of Asia and Pacific Region nations on AIDS issue taken place in Manila, capital city of Philippines on October 25-29.
Although only one person is officially registered as AIDS virus infected in Mongolia, with regard to the following real reasons: less than 3% of total population was involved in AIDS analysis; number of STD infected people – as a basis for AIDS infection – in increasing every year; number of prostitutes and street children – as representatives of risk group (vulnerable group) is also increasing as well as a fact that in Russia and China – two actions where many Mongolians travel for business and private purposes – a number of infected people is growing the professionals are doubtful that only one person in Mongolia is infected by this virus. Therefore, it is understood that at such a crucial stage of encountered internal and external factors the participation of Mongolian delegation comprised from representatives of legislative body, ministry and NGO in Manila Conference is a sign that Mongolia is to undertake thorough battle activities against AIDS.
As soon as one is infected and the disease is spread out it requires a large amount of funds, therefore, in circumstances of Mongolia it is vital to conduct preventive training programs based on a concrete analysis and in accordance with Mongolian mentality; to undertake publicity activities about use of condom as one of most reliable way to prevent from AIDS – presented participants of the Conference.
On a press conference held as a follow-up activity of Manila Conference, Ms. B. Delgermaa, MP said:”This issue is new for Mongolian society. The Conference gave us an opportunity to learn from experience of ways of battling against AIDS and preventive measures taken by nations of Asia Pacific Region”.
Events on AIDS
THE AIDS/STD TEST
By the order of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, AIDS/STD tests were carried out among people aged 15-40 from May to October, 1997. The test have not released as of 20 November, as aimags statistics have not arrived.
According to the results of the tests carried out in Ulaanbaatar, the 84% of all people targeted to be tested have been covered in the campaign. The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Zorig reported that 63518 people have been tested in Ulaanbaatar and 1300 have STD. Bayanzurkh, Chingeltei district the city Ulaanbaatar have the highest number of people with STD. “ It is because a lot of young people live in those districts and the infrastructure is not well developed comparing with other districts.” Said Minister Zorig. The printed decree by the Ulaanbaatar city governor Narantsatsaralt gave the permission to doctors to use force if a person is not willing to be tested.
However the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is denying the use of force for testing. Before 19980, the Ministry of Health and the local authorities co-operated with medical organisations used to conduct medical examinations and tests, including STD tests and covered 80% of the population.
40 MILLION CHILDREN ARE ORPHANS
Reuters news agency reports that according to the USAID estimation about 40 million children are orphaned since their parents have died of AIDS. Those children are under high risk to starve to death or to become sick or to become involved in child labour. It means the social welfare system has to be responsible for the care of those orphan children.
AIDS AND INFANT MORTALITY
The infant mortality rate is increasing in many countries because of AIDS. If the number of people infected by HIV does decrease the infant mortality rate, will triple over the next 15 years in countries such as Thailand and Zimbabwe.
DEMOGRAPHIC EFFECTS OF AIDS
The average life expectancy of the population of countries can be an important index of development. But in countries seriously affected by AIDS/HIV this index is changing dramatically. For instance, the life expectancy has decreased to 37 years in Uganda placing this country in last place. Scientists calculated that life expectancy will decreased to 25 years in some Asian and African countries by the year 2010. For example, the life expectancy of Zimbabwe is projected to decrease from 70 to 40 by 2010.
The sudden death of the princess Diana was a great loss for people infected by HIV/AIDS. How could we forget her humanistic attitude towards the people with HIV /AIDS. She shook their hands and held children suffering from AIDS and participated actively in the battle against AIDS.
In his condolence Dr. Roi Chan has said that Diana was an outstanding fighter against AIDS and against discrimination of those with HIV and AIDS. She was an active organiser of charity activities.
SOON WOMEN WOULD USE CONDOMS
Until recently condoms were only for men. According to numerous surveys carried out in many countries, it showed that woman are powerless in having safe sexual relations with men. The research work experimenting with condoms for women is in the final stage and the results are promising. Currently 10 countries are ordered the product and more than 30 countries are expressed their interest to purchase the product.
The price of the new condom would not be more than 1 $ promised the NUAIDS program.
Countries from Asia and Pacific region
Australia has been one of the countries most affected by AIDS in the region. Since 1987 as a result of the Government action giving priority to people’s participation against AIDS, AIDS infection is now under control. The number of newly infected people is reducing.
AIDS infection is spreading rapidly in Cambodia and its future is not very rosy According to the official statistics data 600 people are AIDS virus infected . However it is estimated that this number is at least 100 thousand. The study carried out in 1997 shows that 40% of prostitutes, 6% of police and army people, 3% of pregnant women of are infected by AIDS virus.
Xinhua news agency informed that the number of people registered as HIV infected and suffering from AIDS reached to 8277 in September, most were people are intervenous drug users. The joint UNAIDS program estimated that this year 400 thousand more people may have been infected by AIDS virus.
AIDS is spreading dramatically in India. There are currently 5000 people living with AIDS according to official studies. Specialists think 2.5 million people are suspected or being infected by AIDS.
1,521 people are suffering from AIDS virus and 3,665 people are infected, by AIDS in Japan. Most of those unfortunate people got infected from imported donor blood and blood products.
AIDS is spread in Korea extremely slowly. The situation is changing. In June, 1997 679 people were HIV infected and 83 people are suffering from AIDS.
There are 922 people infected with HIV and 312 people are experiencing AIDS symptoms. Most of those people are young people aged 20-49. However about 175000 more people are likely infected by AIDS.
What is UNAIDS ?
In December 1994 UNAIDS program was established as the United NAtion AIDS joint program UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, WHO and the World Bank. The main goal of this program to attract attention to the integration all efforts against AIDS. In order to fulfil its objective, a global policy against AIDS should be developed including support in planning, research studies and development amongst all nations.
Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS program, gave a speech at the Manila Conference. In his speech he underlined that, “ Asia has the highest density of population in the world. Therefore, countries from this region facing the danger of AIDS should wake up from their passiveness and accelerate the battle against AIDS.” He has identified the action plan of the UNAIDS program for this region in the following four steps:
1. The countries and their leaders should realise the necessity of an effective battle against AIDS2. In order to make an effective effort against AIDS, the proven experiences and methods from different countries should be shared.3. To activate community initiatives in the battle against AIDS4. To involve all countries and nations spontaneously in the campaign against AIDS.
“ The battle against AIDS is progressing. Only our enemy is to do nothing” emphasised Mr. Peter in the Manila conference.
Children of the AIDS Era
Every year, on December 1 the world community has a tradition to undertake measures to be solidary in a battle against AIDS, to do publicity work about the harm and hazard of the disease, to offer moral and humanitarian aid to infected and ill people and their relatives. A slogan of battle of each year is different. 1997 year’s battle against AIDS has a slogan:”Children of AIDS Era”.
According to the latest data, 90% of AIDS-infected children under the 15 age are in developing countries. Only in 1996 more 400000 children under age of 15 were infected by AIDS virus.
Children are not only infected but they also experience the consequences of this disease. In many nations of the world children lose their parents and other members of the family given to this fatal disease. By the mid of the last year 9million children under the age 15 became orphans due to this disease. This figure can make one’s heart feel ill, but it is just a small part of the social grievance. In other words, there is a number ill mother or a father or sometimes both ill are waiting in anguish for a fatal end; at the same time so much pain and suffer the children carry. These children are very different from those who lose their parents because of other reasons. These children suffer seeing how their mother or father is getting worse and worse day by day with no way of treatment. In addition to it the cool attitude from other children make them suffer more.
Since AIDS transfers through STD, so that it is very often that children lose both parents. Leon, Ugandan woman says:”I have 11 orphan children. My older sister died of AIDS and left me 6 orphan children. The other 5 are my daughter’s children who also died of AIDS.
The below examples demonstrate the presence of poverty and violation of human rights toward children who lose parents due to AIDS. Since it is heard that one of family members is infected it is common that guests avoid visiting that family; classmates become cool. According to a survey conducted in Thailand for AIDS-infected children it it taboo to play together with other children at a play-yard. Also it was revealed fro from this survey that parents might be fired, the host lady stops visiting , thus the income of the family falls down encountering poverty. There is a number of such examples reported from different corners of the world. Fortunately, there is also a number of individuals and institutions who would like to help. UNICEF, Children Protection Foundation, some religious missions and other voluntary organizations. It is vital to help those families while AIDS-infected parents are alive. Because the children suffer from a very beginning day of parents’infection.
The World Conference held in 1996 “Against violent involvement of children in prostitution and pornography” reported that every year more than 1 million children become prostitutes. Besides, there is a number of hidden violations both moral and physical against them from their relatives or strange people. Today more than 100 million children are called “street children” living on an edge of knife. The thorough preventive program based on the specific needs and demands of street and drug-addicted children is really needed.
Let’s save children who live in Era of AIDS.
PERSONAL VIEW – SHALL WE WAIT FOR THE “SILENT” EPIDEMIC?
You might say we are a little bit exaggerating things. You might also ask “Is AIDS
really threatening Mongolia?” In some countries there is a belief that the Asian people have an immunity against AIDS and it’s not a secret that some Mongolians are also subject to this naive and false understanding. It would be really wonderful if God could have blessed us with such a rare destiny but…
Dramatically, today about 5.2 mln or 25 per cent of all 22.6 mln HIV positive live in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the officil data in Thailand where AIDS was regarded as an alien’s disease, the number of HIV-positive reached 700-800 thousand, in China 8200. So, what’s the situation in Mongolia? The Mongolians proudly say that there is only 1case of AIDS was officially registered in Mongolia. Some sceptically say that there should be more than 1 case… And I am among those who think that AIDS is enevitably threatening Mongolia and is always scared to think of a day when this silent epidemic might completely demolish the country’s 2 mln population.
The term “silent” epidemic was given to the disease because unlike other infectious diseases AIDS has no distinct symptoms and it takes many years before the disease gets exposed and the last ”resort” is always death. So, it is obvious that the HIV positive victims can infect others being completely unaware of their sickness.
Mongolia has all favourable conditions for AIDs to progress like the recent development of tourism, international trade, increase of drunkness, prositution, spread of sexual perversions, street kids, rape, etc. In addition, the increase of STDs gives solid grounds for AIDs development. We, the Mongolians, have very strange attitude towards destroying ourselves with our own hands. It is common to be hospitalized and have intravenous injections and even curse the doctors who didn’t prescribe intravenous injections. There are cases of getting hepatitis B through poor sterilized syringes because of the desire to be hospitalized while being almost healthy. How many patients, nurses do we have who are really scared of getting AIDs through injections? Do we have many doctors who really care of their job’s safety? They only think of curing the diseases and don’t think of getting infected. The HIV positives mostly suffer from pneumonia, TB and lung tumours. The number of TB cases in Mongolia has sharply increased during the last years. Does the medical personnel think about it? The questions like this arouse and scare me among other problems.
Hasn’t the time for us Mongolians come to make considerable efforts and bold steps to stay less exposed to this “silent” epidemic. To lay the AIDS burden on the shoulders of the Ministry of Health would certyainly result in unforgivable mistakes. The AIDS virus doesn’t distinguish between the rich and poor, women and men as well as doesn’t accept any bribes and corruption.
Any of us can become the next victim, so the whole society is not guaranted against it. Since there is no vaccination, no medicine against the virus everybody needs to foster their knowledge , learn more and choose safe means. In that case we can prevent ourselves against the deadly virus.
We need the sound voices of mass media representatives and prominant figures to join our battle against AIDs. Shall we, the Mongolians wait for the “silent” epidemic?
New generation – AIDS
Sexual Education as the most reliable means against AIDS
The first AIDS case was registered in 1981 the victim being an American homosexual and about 6.4 mln people died of AIDS since the first AIDS virus was found in 1983.
Until now no effective medicine was found and everyone infected with AIDS virus is doomed to die. According to the WHO data every day 8500 people get AIDS virus of whom 7500 are adults and 1000 are children.
However, the most reliable prevention is to remember that AIDS is not that dangerous if the person takes proper care of himself. It has become a worldwide trend to teach the younger generation about AIDS transmissons ways and give them sexual education. This would allow us not only protect our 20th century future but also make a feasible contribution to the coming future. At present, 50 per cent of the world and 70 per cent of Mongolia’s population are people under 25. In Mongolia the cases of STDs and prostitution in volve more younger people as compared to previous years and this contributes to the AIDS development and indicates the importance of promoting sexual education among young people especially at secondary schools.
Historically the Mongols never talk about sex to children although the time has gone when they used to learn about sex from their communal living in one dwelling together with their parents, grandparents and also watching the livestock habits.
The nationwide survey “Young generation knowledge, attitude and experiences towards reproductive health” conducted by Mongolian Ministry of Health and WHO covering 5000 young people in between the age of 13-20 showed that 53.6 per cent of them expressed the readiness to learn about family planning, STDs and AIDS from secondary schools, 23.9 from TV and mass media and 13.1 per cent from books and magazines.
At present, the information on sexual education given at secondary schools during biology classes didn’t prove to be fully informative and complete. According to Dr.Lhagwasuren, Head of the National Medical University, a special project should be elaborated focusing on how the sexual education should be taught and when and at what age and in what context.
Recently, the lecturer of the National Medical University B. Ayush and Gynecologist Bayarmaa founded the “Young generation – future” centre.The centre aims at giving basic education about reproductive health to 10-24 year olds, unexpected pregnancy, prevention of STDs and AIDS, as well as rendering qualified medical assistance. The consultancy hot-line “Trusty phone” is to start operating soon and will help to solve urgent problems of the youth. This is the beginning of active actions.
On the other hand, it is time for parents to give up the old fashioned understanding of “secret subject” and join efforts in teaching basic knowledge about sex. It should be also noted that in reality the parents tend to think that teaching sexual education is the duty of school teachers, so the parents also need a special training considering this subject. In other words, the parents- chidlren-school triangle is very important to ensure the success of developing sexual education to children.
It is certain that we won’t solve today’s problems by only introducting sexual education at secondary schools. There are many street kids missing the schools and and this number is increasing, the kids have no supervision and enter the sexual life without any knowledge.
The survey held by the Ministry of Health and UN Human Fund showed the increasing number of street teenagers (girsl) who get involved in sexual relations at the very early age. According to the results out of 92 street teenagers (girls) 71 or 77 per cent already started sexual life and 50.4 per cent of them were raped. The average age is 14. The experts emphasized that these figures are higher as compared to other kids who have homes. Recently, some Asian countries with the same problem of street kids have been successfully passing the sexual education through the so called “leaders” of the groups.
The doctors involved in the survey also noted that when the sreet kids (Ulaanbaatar) get STDs they inject each other with penicillinum instead of going to hospitals.
Another thing that should be considered is that the sexual education should be taught in line with the kids’ interests and habits. For example, some methods like enrolling famous pop singers, rock bands , basketball stars or using the most popular FM channells in STDs and AIDS pevention campaigns could have more effect on city kids while in countryside the prominent young wrestlers with national titles could participate in these campaigns and make them more fruitful.
MAY I BE THE FIRST AND LAST AIDS VICTIM IN MONGOLIA
The only Mongolian with HIV positive for the first time spoke to mass media addressing the teenagers and youth. This decision was motivated by his desire to warn the Mongolian youth of the danger of AIDS widely spreading all over the world and Asian countries and toprotest against some false information related to him and published in some papers. In its October issue one of the papers published an “interview” with him which read that the Mongolian HIV positive had sexual relations with 6 partners and was going to get married soon. However, it was found out that the journalist who rote it never met the HIV positive. Dr. Davaajav, head of the National STD and AIDS Centre, acted as a liason between the press and HIV positive and stressed that his patient had never had sexual relations with anybody since he knew he was HIV positive. He also emphasized that his patient expressed his will to be the first and the last AIDS victim in Mongolia.
The interview was given to Ardyn Erkh paper, the most popular national daily distributed both in urban and rural areas. According to Dr. Davaajav the HIV positive’s health state is satisfactory and the AIDS symptoms have not shown up. “Of course he needs a moral and human support as he feels really down” says Dr. Davaajav. Right now, the HIV positive has no job and has no place of his own.
THREE REASONS WHY THE YOUTH IS EXPOSED TO AIDS
Dr. John Chittick who has been working on AIDS projects for the last 10 years and conducted “AIDS, Teenagers and the Youth” survey, founded a Teen AIDS-PeerCorps charity fund. Dr. Chittick thinks that the campaigns on AIDS prevention among the teenagers are really insufficient and the governments neglect this problem. According to him, there are 3 reasons why the youth has wrong understanding about AIDS regarding it as an adults’ disease. The reasons are as the following:
They don’t realize AIDS as a real threat The youth and teenagers have no opportunity to see HIV positives among themselves because AIDS virus appears after 10 years the person gets infected.
They don’t receive enough information on AIDS.The adults, especially in Asian countries don’t talk much about AIDS and sex. They always say “Don’t” but rarely explain why it is prohibited. And the youth actually disregards these don’ts.
They don’t talk about AIDS among themselves. Acording to Dr. John Chittick’s studies the young people in Asian countries don’t talk much about sex and AIDS. The situation is a little bit better in European countries. If you are interested in Dr. John Chittick’s activities on staging AIDS preventive campaigns please refer to his e-mail or write a letter.
Note: The national magazine on AIDS is available on Internet at information centres sponsored by UNDP. These centeres function in Ulaanbaatar, Tuv and Uvurhangai aimags.
Means of prevention
To stay with one sexual partner is one of the most reliable and handy means.
Avoid using alcohol and drugs which lead to loosing self control.
Make sure you have a condomn just in case. Don’t get ashamed to use it and remember it is very important for the couples to learn how to use it properly.
Make it a habit to use only sterilized syringes.
Use only analyzed blood or blood substances in treatment.
It is not very difficult, isn’t it? Once you discuss these means within your family or with your friends, don’t forget that you protect not only yourself, but also help to protect others from AIDs virus.
Questions and answers about HIV-AIDS
Q:If I know (suspect) that somebody is HIV positive how should I react to it?
A: First thing is to remember that you won’t get infected through sharing dishes, toilet, shaking hands, kissing, etc. Make sure you keep the person’s secret and avoid gossip ping about it. Try to be human because AIDS is like TB or dysentery and nobody is guaranteed against it.
Q:How can a person know that he is not infected?
A: It is difficult to say if the person is infected or not just looking at him, so the couples should get AIDS tests after 5 months they had sexual relations. This will allow you to be more self confident.
Q:Can I get infection through kissing?
A: Normally, the AIDS virus was not found in saliva. So, there is less danger but in cases of bleeding or damaged cavity there is a possibility for the AIDS virus to penetrate.
Q: Is there any place in Mongolia to get consultancy on AIDS and STDs?
A: The consultancy service was founded in 1992 and is located in the western wing of the Infectious Diseases Hospital AIDs/STDs Centre, 1st floor, Room 104.
Quarterly magazine, comes out in English, France, Portugeuse and Spanish. Free distribution to developing countries.
HAIN No.9 Cabanatuan Road, Philam Homes 1104, Quezon City Philippinnes
“Despite rising rates of HIV infection in Asia, there is no evidence to suggest that HIV is currently a problem in Mongolia6. However, our study suggests that there is a significant problem with STDs, including antimicrobial resistant N. gonorrhoeae in this region. STDs are known to be an important factor in HIV transmission and outbreaks of STDs have been associated with significant increases in HIV in specific geographic regions15.”
AIDS: The Fourth International Congress on AIDS and Asia in the Pacific convened 3,000 scientists, people working in the communities, and people living with HIV/AIDS to discuss the state of AIDS in Asia and the Pacific and how the problem is being addressed now and into the future. The following topics addressed at the Congress are explored: the extent of the HIV epidemic, HIV risk behaviors, women and HIV, clinical manifestations of HIV infection, antiretroviral therapy, and perinatal HIV transmission. HIV is spread differently among these countries and a nation’s wealth largely determines its ability to execute prevention programs and patient access to therapy. Most patients in Asia pay for their own medications. It is hoped that more prosperous and technologically advanced nations will demonstrate stronger leadership and commitment in the fight against AIDS in the region.
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