Another disaster lurks in Africa

Famine in Somalia one thing, but HIV remains a huge problem

With the famine in Somalia a new threat to millions of lives, it might seem an unlikely time to call for increased spending on HIV/TB co-infection.

But the disaster in the Horn of Africa has been years in the making, in no small part due to global neglect. It’s the old thumbs twiddling while Rome burns. Much could have been done, but wasn’t, and now the world is responding after the fact, when countless lives have already been lost and aid much more difficult to provide.

As in Somalia, there is another long-term disaster stalking Africa that is the result of neglect. But unlike Somalia, it is absurdly simple to solve.

It is estimated that of the millions of individuals being treated for HIV infection (at a cost of hundreds of dollars a year per person), less than five per cent have been screened for TB, which is the primary killer of those living with HIV.

This despite the fact that screening is very simple – eight questions are asked, and if the results are positive the patient is given a medical test. Treatment is less than $20 per year.

It is estimated that two million HIV survivors will die from preventable TB in the next three years.

Somalia is an example of what happens when the world looks the other way, and given the violent politics of the region, easy or quick solutions to the crisis are not available.

Recently the federal government committed $50 million in assistance and promised to match dollar-for-dollar any donations made by Canadians. This is laudable, but at the same time, Canadian funding for HIV has decreased, and spending on TB has been stagnating for years.

We have a choice: we can bury the bodies after the fact, wasting millions of dollars in the process, or we can be proactive and easily save lives.

TB might be less dramatic than dust storms and packed refugee camps, but the results are the same.

Nathaniel Poole

Victoria

 

Is Pamela Martin’s job

of any value to taxpayers?

Re: Pamela Martin’s new job irks reader (Letters, July 22)

R. Boothman is right to be irked, if not incensed.

Pamela Martin has now been on the job as the premier’s director of outreach for about a month.

At her salary of $130,000 per year, this means taxpayers have already given her more than $10,800 ($70 per hour). Can the premier, with her new open government policy, please tell us what value we got for that money?

Roel Hurkens

Victoria

Just Posted

A pub patio in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patio and picnic dining could mean a free meal for Greater Victoria patrons

Local celebrities pick up the tab with latest Greater Victoria chamber contest

St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)
Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

Police are asking opponents of logging near Port Renfrew not to involve their children following additional arrests Saturday. (Black Press Media File)
Police arrest eight protesters including two minors near Port Renfrew Saturday

RCMP ask parents not to involve their children in Fairy Creek logging protests

Future grads at Oak Bay High will have greater scholarship opportunities available through the Oak Bay Rotary Club. (Black Press Media file photo)
Private donor quadruples donations to Oak Bay Rotary scholarship funds

The club has awarded more than $25,000 to Oak Bay High students

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read