Friday, November 2, 2012

kiss cartoons and designs

zunamikalaki toilet politicskalaki The confused elephantsquarekalaki sacrificekalaki phone callkalaki over the edge
kalaki mouthkalaki long live the kingkenya crisisAfrica on the road to 2008africa cupghana 2008zimbabwe currency changes
kalaki heir apparentkalaki royal dutieskalaki Unlocking Resourceskalaki wallskalaki royal dutiesdepth of thought
Hitting a Child can result in DeathSPARE THE RODDont hit Kids veiledDont Hurt meEconomic Boom TravellerFwd: Zambian Civil Society at risk of extinction

kiss cartoons and designs, a set on Flickr.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guy Scott » An AIDS-free generation?

By Guy Scott

When antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) were first used on a quantity of HIV+ people, an obvious question presented itself to those with some knowledge of the disease: what is the effect of these drugs on the actual transmission of the HIV from one person to another – from a positive person to a hitherto uninfected person with whom he or she has sex? This question has not been discussed much publicly for reasons that are not so hard to understand.

Suppose the answer had been that the chance of an HIV+ person infecting another was not altered for the better by ARVs. The implications would have been an ethical minefield.

By keeping an HIV+ person alive and kicking longer, you would be increasing the spread of HIV – you might even be exacerbating the epidemic since the average treated person might get to have sex with and transmit the disease to more partners over a longer time.

The natural answer to this would have been to withdraw ARVs from use to allow already infected people to die quicker and lower the pressure of the epidemic. But not many people were prepared to say this publicly, and the matter was kept quiet while we waited for more information!

Even if the answer to the big question was that ARVs lowered the likelihood of virus transmission somewhat, there was another ethical conundrum. Should you inform people that their risk of passing HIV on to a negative person had been reduced by virtue of their being on ARVs? The obvious implication might be a tendency towards less care – less condom use for example – resulting from the illusion of safety.

So again it seems that most people shut up and waited....
A large worldwide trial to compare transmission with and without early ARV treatment was set up in 2005 using “discordant” couples in which one person was HIV+ and the other HIV-. The total sample was 1700 and the population was drawn from Latin America, Africa, Asia and the US.

All the HIV+ partners were in the early stages of HIV infection and were symptom. free with CD4 counts around 500. Half of the couples were assigned to the “control” group where they did not receive ARV treatment until they showed clinical symptoms of AIDS or suffered a low CD4 count (itself a symptom of AIDS).

This is the standard procedure in Zambia as elsewhere. In the other half of the sample ARVs were given immediately, despite their apparent robust good health. The point is that during this early “healthy” period, HIV carriers are normally highly infectious. What would the ARVs make of that?

The result of the “HPTN-052” trial was not expected until about 2015 but – amazing to relate – the results are already so conclusive that the trial has been stopped to enable the control group to receive early ARVs. This was the result of yet another ethical consideration.

You see: the untreated control group produced 27 HIV transmissions to the formerly HIV- partner while the treated test group produced precisely one! The figures for TB occurrence – an early indicator for HIV – were 17 and 3 respectively. Even a Zambian politician would have difficulty arguing with those numbers.

The discovery that ARVs virtually kill all transmission of the HIV if given at an early enough stage opens the door to the possibility of an ‘AIDS-free generation’ without depending solely upon an unlikely degree of behavioural change.

The only likely catch – though it is a big one – is that the sexually active segment of the population, which extends from mid teens to well into so-called geriatric age group, will have to be routinely tested for HIV so that early treatment can be initiated. If you doubt my statement about old people and sexual activity take note that there is an HIV epidemic amongst retirees in Florida.

At present, HIV in Zambia is often diagnosed via the special circumstances of either pregnancy or presenting with AIDS-related opportunistic infections. And even where the symptoms are quite pronounced, it can be difficult to persuade the person to have an HIV test.

So what proportion of adults is prepared to show up annually for an HIV test without feeling the slightest bit unwell, even knowing that it might protect sexual partners against infection?
There would seem to be a strong case for compulsory testing, but this is again fraught with ethical problems.

An attempt at compulsory testing would almost certainly result in sick people failing to present themselves – or their children – at clinics where they might be made to submit to testing for HIV. You see again: this public health business is all about commonsense, ethics, human nature and more ethics. I am so glad I am just a lowly politician.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are today's ICTs a good example of 'sustainable Development?'

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs." All definitions of sustainable development require that we see the world as a system—a system that connects space; and a system that connects time.

Do today's ICTs and their use meet these criteria? This question is more difficult than it seems.
Currently there is great optimism among development practitioners for the achievement of the millennium development goals through ICTs. Recent research has shown that where there is deliberate use of ICTs for the achievement of development, higher levels of success towards this end have been achieved. This research has illustrated how strategic use of ICTs can leapfrog poor communities towards benefitting from resources and the essentials of development.

At the same time, there is a global surge in the demand and consumption of ICTs. This has equally put pressure on the ICT manufacturing industry to meet the rising demand. However, as a result of this increased necessity of ICTs, two issues that represent some of the greatest challenges of our time arise;
1. Sourcing Raw material for production

It has become evident that today's ICTs are not possible without the use of microprocessors and microprocessors are made using a mineral called Coltan. At present, 80% of the worlds known Coltan is sourced from war-torn Eastern Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC. The high value of this mineral has motivated warring factions in the region to fight for exploitation rights much to the detriment of the local wildlife and environment. Mined by hand, the mining of this radioactive mineral has adverse health effects such as cancer on the miners and their families who rank among the most impoverished people in the world.
2.Disposal of ICT waste and environmental sustainability

Technological advancements are so dynamic that at every moment new ICTs are introduced and old ones are disposed of. With the influx of demand for new, there is also an influx of waste from disposal of the old. These two important issues receive less attention than those that are concerned with utilization mentioned above. They too are an ICT issue.

At the expense of entire tribes, the world's manufacturers are meeting the world's insatiable appetite for technology. At the expense of the planet, the world's consumers are not yet adept at disposing of their technological waste. There are adverse implications on the technological industry to raise the Coltan issue. But human rights and dignity must prevail in the Congo for the rest of the globe's inhabitants to use ICTs with a free conscience. ICT practitioners must consider posterity and push for the end of conflict in this volatile region for the sake of future generations. As consumers we must develop an environmental sense. We must be conscious of extractive tendencies and address them with recycling and rejuvenation of the world's scarce resources. As development practitioners, we must think about sustainable development and to what extent we are working towards it at all times.


Buskens, I., & Webb, A. (2009). Africa women and ICTs, investigating technology, gender and empowerment. New York: Zed books.
Coltan and your mobile: a mopocket repentance and mobile community call to action. (2006, October 1). Retrieved October 27, 2010, from mopocket:
Coltan fever: Imperialism continues. (2009, June 20). Retrieved October 27, 2010, from fundacion europea coorporacion nort-sul:
ICT for Development: Contributing to the Millennium Development Goals; Lessons Learned from Seventeen infoDev Projects. (2010, October 27). Retrieved October 27, 2010, from infodev:
ICT for Development; Contributing to the millenium development goals. lessons learnt from seventeen infodev projects. (2003). Washington, DC: The World Bank.
UNDP. (2010, October 27). millenium development goals. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from UNDP:
What is Sustainable Development?; Environmental, economic and social well-being for today and tomorrow. (2010, October 27). Retrieved October 27, 2010, from iisd2010:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Interpretation is Everything

Tuesday, March 9, 2010