World AIDS Day 2011

On the first of December, World AIDS Day is celebrated.  This day is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to remember those who have died of the disease and to celebrate accomplishments, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

Today, despite advances in HIV treatment and in laws designed to protect those living with HIV; many people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV or about the stigma and discrimination that remain a reality for many people living with HIV.  World AIDS Day is an important reminder to individuals and governments that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2011 is “Getting to Zero.” After 30 years of the global fight against HIV/AIDS, this year the focus is on achieving 3 targets: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.

Zero New HIV Infections

It is estimated that 33.3 million people have HIV worldwide, with 1.2 million persons who are living with HIV in the United States, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) estimates.  This number is expected to continue to increase over time, as advances in treatments prolong the lives of those who are infected and more people become infected with HIV each year. Despite increases in the total number of people in the U.S. living with HIV infection in recent years, the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. However, new infections continue at far too high of a level, with approximately 50,000 Americans becoming infected with HIV each year.  Worldwide, the rate of new infections, or incidence, has decreased. In 33 countries, the incidence has decreased more than 25 percent since 2001, including countries in the hardest hit areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

The CDC estimates that one in five people living with HIV in the U.S. are unaware of their infection.  This highlights the importance of reaching all infected individuals with HIV testing and prevention services. HIV can be transmitted in three main ways: sexual transmission; transmission through blood; and mother-to-child transmission.  These three routes of transmission work in tandem to affect segments of the population.  The number of infections resulting from each route will vary greatly between countries and population groups. HIV counseling and testing are fundamental for HIV prevention, as is access to essential commodities such as condoms or sterile injecting equipment.

Zero Discrimination

According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, “Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world.”

Discrimination against those infected with HIV/AIDS includes both the fear of getting the disease and also negative assumptions about people who are infected.  AIDS-related stigma has had a profound effect on the epidemic’s course. The World Health Organization cites fear of stigma and discrimination as the main reason why people are reluctant to be tested, to disclose their HIV status or to take antiretroviral drugs.

“We can fight stigma. Enlightened laws and policies are key. But it begins with openness, the courage to speak out. Schools should teach respect and understanding. Religious leaders should preach tolerance. The media should condemn prejudice and use its influence to advance social change, from securing legal protections to ensuring access to health care.” Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Zero AIDS Related Deaths

More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus worldwide, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.  In the US, nearly 594,500 people with AIDS in the US have died since the epidemic began.

The goal of ‘Zero AIDS Related Deaths’ signifies an increased access to available treatments for all those infected.  Currently, only one third of the 15 million people living with HIV worldwide who are in need of life long treatment are receiving it. Universal access to antiretroviral treatments for those living with HIV will not only decrease the number of AIDS related deaths, but will increase the quality of life among those infected and decrease transmission.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn the facts about HIV. By increasing the understanding of how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today-we can use this knowledge to take care of our own health and the health of others.

For more facts about HIV/AIDS and where to get tested, please visit

International Day To End Violence Against Women!

Interna!Please click the link to view the video

Mariama Mounir Petrolawicz, Founder of There Is No Limit Foundation and Monique Coleman from High School Musical at the International Day to End Violence Against Women at the United Nations.

“Violence against women has the ability to destroy families, communities, and nations. Today is the 10th anniversary since the United Nations commemorated the observation of the day, reaffirming the importance of eliminating violence once and for all,” stated President Corbiere Lavell.

“The number of missing and murdered First Nations, Métis and Inuit women in Canada is extremely high,” added President Corbiere Lavell. “This reality is documented in NWAC’s report, Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit: A Research and Policy Report to Families and Communities, which was released one year ago today. This report highlighted that 497 Aboriginal women and girls had been murdered or disappeared over the last thirty years. An updated report in March 2009 revealed an even higher number at 520.”

“Sisters In Spirit is the only research initiative in Canada on the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. Our Voices report provides important policy recommendations that present an opportunity for positive change for increased safety in the lives of our mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunties,” remarked President Corbiere Lavell. “As Sisters In Spirit looks to continue improving the situation of Aboriginal women and addressing the violence they face, it is my hope that the Government of Canada will continue to partner with the Native Women’s Association of Canada in this important work.”

November 25 is also the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an international campaign which runs until December 10, International Human Rights Day. These two important dates symbolically link violence against started this important campaign. I also acknowledge Amnesty International Canada, a long time supporter of NWAC, who is organizing activities across the country as part of their Wake women as a grave abuse of human rights.

“I thank the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, who started this important campaign. I also acknowledge Amnesty International Canada, a long time supporter of NWAC, who is organizing activities across the country as part of their Wake Up Call to Canada campaign to work at stopping violence against all women.” President Corbiere Lavell concluded, “Today and every day, I encourage men and women of all ages to reflect on the importance of protecting and honouring Aboriginal women and girls.”

 World Pneumonia Day, November 12, 2011

If asked to answer what the number one killer disease of children under five was, many would assume AIDS, or an exotic disease such as malaria. Few however, would say pneumonia, and that it takes more lives of children under five annually than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

It is for this very reason that two years ago, groups including the WHO and UNICEF joined together to create World Pneumonia Day (12 November 2011), a global campaign designed to create mass awareness among civilians and policymakers in order to battle horrible statistical data surrounding pneumonia.

According to statistics from the WHO, pneumonia claims the lives of 1.5 million children under five every year, meaning that every 20 seconds, a child dies of pneumonia. Of these numbers, 98% live in developing countries, and despite causing almost 20% of all under-5 deaths, pneumonia attracts less than 5% of global health funding.

This year, these statistics have encouraged the Egyptian Medical Students Association NGO (EMSA), registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs, to launch the national “Protect Your Child” campaign on World Pneumonia Day 2011.

“Every year in Egypt, 42,000 children under-5 die as a result of pneumonia,” states Dr. Mohamed Zaazoue, coordinator for the campaign.

“Pneumonia is a relatively inexpensive disease to cure, but the biggest problem is that many of these children die simply due to a lack of awareness of the disease and available preventive measures.”

Beginning at Demerdash Hospital, the “Protect Your Child” campaign aims to reach over 5000 parents and 50000 children by using competitions to create awareness throughout Egypt’s biggest hospitals.

While waiting for general checkups for their children, parents will take a multiple choice quiz based on pneumonia-related short stories; in the end however, everyone will win books, with coloring stories for the children and awareness material for the parents.

“The goal is to create communal awareness of the symptoms of pneumonia, among family and friends, as well as shed light on how it can be cured and prevented with simple vaccinations,” continues Zaazoue.

The “Protect Your Child” campaign has been raising money to provide free vaccinations to “high risk candidates,” those who do not even have the means to seek such vaccination.

“When campaign ideas initially began this year, we intended 1000 vaccinations to be given over the course of the next year,” states Zaazoue. “But thanks to generous donations [LE11.5m] in recent months, we will now be able to vaccinate 15,000 candidates, which is nearly half of next year’s death toll.”

The campaign is intended to continue for up to five-years, with alternating awareness and vaccination campaigns, in order to significantly reduce Egyptian pneumonia-related mortality rates.

In order to broaden the scope of the campaign, “Protect Your Child” has also partnered recently with “Save The Children,” an international organization, as well as others, to create the largest coalition against Child Pneumonia in Africa.

“Pneumonia is not only curable, it is also preventable, which makes it an easy fight that is also very implementable,” states Zaazoue.

“We cannot eliminate it altogether, but in 5 years, we can be sure to at least drop the mortality rates in Egypt to that of developed countries where they have simple vaccines and continued awareness.”

One of United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to reduce by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate from 1990 to 2015. Therefore, because pneumonia causes almost 20% of the annual total, reducing pneumonia deaths is essential to this goal, according to THE UNICEF press release.

7 Billion People

Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Millions of children caught in drought and famine crisis 

More than 12 million people across Somalia and the Horn of Africa are suffering a deadly combination of drought, escalating food prices and armed conflict. This number is steadily increasing. This is the worst food crisis in the world today, requiring UNICEF’s expertise to save young lives immediately.

How can you help ?

You can help by making a donation. $10 can  save a life right now in the Horn of Africa. Click the links below to make a donation.

Global Giving.

Horn of Africa

3 Responses “SOCIAL ISSUES” →
  1. Wooow fashion industry is growing in Africa, It will be really good to expose these work in the western countries, my community will love this, I will contact you by email.

  2. Oh my god, I love Dakar fashion week, the girls look great. Amazing to see African improving!!!!
    Did you connect models and designer for the show?
    I email you to ask you to get more details!


  3. Abu Seidu

    October 24, 2011

    Just happy someone is also thinking the way I think.We have to make the world a better place to live in.


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