Friday, July 17, 2009

Window of Hope

I have lost friends and relatives to AIDS. This condition has devastated us. AIDS has killed professionals who will never be replaced.

Those of us with some knowledge of the University of Malawi understand that AIDS has devastated the education sector. As students we could see a professor losing weight, his hair becoming pale, missing classes, or a course being missed by students because a professor (the only one who can teach that course in Malawi), is not well.

Hard times. In my village in Liwonde, people with money are gone. Business men who were flourishing in late 1980s and early 1990s, are all gone.

One reason trade centres like Ulongwe, Mpemba and Lunzu are dying is that great business men of these places have died. And of AIDS. Because every loose girl chased after them.

Now there is hope. Treatment is making parents llive longer and raise their chidlren, kids who would otherwie have been orphans. Awareness is also high. My generation is making brilliant choices. Prevalence is now at 12.5 percent in Malawi.

But the sweeter news is that in the age group 5 to 11, prevalence is one percent. This means that if we can raise this age group with meaningful education that helps them avoid AIDS, we can create an almost AIDS free generation for the future.

This is a window of hope, an opportunity but also a challenge. How do we protect this generation from catching HIV?

Make your suggestions known to me. Email me. I will combine all thoughts into a great piece which will influence policy.

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