Friday, April 11, 2008

Individual Decisions Exploding into HIV Crisis: Malawi on cliff

I dont want to bore anyone of you with my economics though that is what life means to me. Whatever people say about the economics profession I agree with them because everything is right and wrong at the same time. Economists rarely agree with one other and think their view is the best solution. Its normal. Similarly if you dont agree with what I want to say, no problem just like i have no problem with you agreeing with me. Take time though to appreciate my thoughts . I am not thinking aloud but desiring so.

But I want to state that in quest to satisfy wants, societal decisons are collective individual decisions . This can be said about the HIV crisis in Malawi that we have failed to contain since the first case in 1985. Perhaps I am not sure how the first person contracted HIV but its been known that over 90 percent of the cases have been through sexual intercourse. My reasoning therefore premises that sexual decions are key to HIV containment.

That is why I say we must look at decisions that each one of us has made since 1985 regarding sexual behaviour. I was not yet 10 though and I am not asking for anything. Firstly, some politician in those days of Nyakula, thought talking about sex is a taboo, decided that HIV/AIDS be called magawagawa without elaborating the mode of transimmission. Another one called it a disease of " matenda awa ni apa Mphasa". Some folks called it Kanyela and that sing'anga Yakobe could cure it (Some HIV Video that i watched while in Secondary school...short at Chanco).

Then someone thinker or call him an expert decided that the best way to solve the problem was a piece of latex/rubber called a condom be the solution. These actions are not sequential by the way. Then the church, government,chiefs, uncles, sibwenis, malumes, elders, ngo's agreed and disagreed. These are all individual decisions that have been made. So from a 0% HIV rate we now have 11.4% if use th official statatics. But we are not doomed nation. There is hope.

So how have these individual decisions worked? Well one can think about agents as we, in the economics profession call them, just like scientists call them subjects or clients if you belong to the professions that God loves most( I WILL NOT SAY WHICH! ITS A JOKE FROM NYASANET).The point is, after all these actions, as individual persons, either out of ignorance or crazy courage, MAKE decisions that LEND ourselves more vulnerable to this disease. I reckon, that a human being is so rational but somehow we have missed the point in our country to contain the problem.

Behavioural change is paramount but what I see ARE ineffective stratagies, beautifully crafted and in public office shelves. But what I want to advance is that th campaign for behavioural change should happen to an individual in a style of a door to door style. This to me is more effective and would help most of us to make proper wise decisiosn about our sexual lives. Its not to say that the human mind or soul of a Malawian is stubborn but to understand that in a million, it is natural that one thinks this concerns them but not me. Just like some of us think we will never die but them.

The strategies that the National Aids Commission has taken are not workable. But I dont suggest a dissolution of NAC but I believe they have too much money for HIV but do not know how to use it. They can do better than what they are currently condcuting themselves. I have always seen organisations, NGOs that have received NAC funds to fight AIDS calling for expressions of interest in our local media..they want to us part of the proceeds to buy furniture and refurbish their offices. AIDS/HIV is serious business and this nonsense must stop. I would want the fight taken to individual households through villge or community counsellors and encourage the spirit of volunteers. I would want the approach similar to the Measles and Vitamin A campaigns that are undertaken once in a while.

Just to borrow some few tricks from Obama and Clinton campaign style....the guys have been knocking on the doors of voters delivering the message that they have.Similarly, I have been meant to believe that to sucessfully campaign for an MP must under the cover of darkness go door to door and convince voters in this country. It works. A politicina friend confided in me. If this is the approach we can take then we will help our society through proper decisions making regarding sexual choices. I am not putting a blame on NAC but suggest that all organisations need to incorporate such approaches. The messege that a Church pastor carries in the church on HIV is different if he/she visits one of their folks at talks about social issues in the home of their belivers. When did your pastor visit you? We also have to accept that we have a problem and we are all part of the solution.

All I can say, is that, a messege delivered to an individual person is more effective that a Chishango Billboard along Zalewa Road or a Radio play or TV soap by Winiko and Manganya. Its the individual that makes the decision about sex and collective decisions add to what we end having as a problem. So if the individual is equiped, we are building a better Malawi. Statisticians have primary sampling units to get data about issues.........these units are the individual persons.

This is how I see it. What do you reckon?

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