Archive for 'health'
Posted on December 1, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, HIV/AIDS, arts, children, gays and lesbians, harmful practices, health, human rights, media, politics, religion, reproductive health, stereotypes, truth commissions, violence, war rape, women, men and more.
We share the wish of Marie Mendene Owono: SEND AIDS AWAY.
Marie Mendene is an extraordinary activist from Cameroon and one of the first African women to say publicly that she lives with HIV, in the 1990s, when AIDS was a disease of shame and blame.
This is one of my favourite photos about AIDS in Africa. I took it at Sunshine, her NGO in Douala, in 2003, before antiretroviral treatment became widely available. Only a few Cameroonians in cities could get the life-saving pills.
The day I took the photo, Marie had queued for seven hours and received only half of her monthly ARV pills. She was understandably upset about the poor logistics and delivery of medicines. AIDS magnified all the inadequacies of health systems.
That was then. Today, nearly three million people in Africa are on ARV treatment. This seemed like a dream then, but activists were campaigning hard to make it come true.
Marie had a clear vision of activism. “We should go beyond the begging bowl and the appeal to compassion, beyond the stage of being used to do prevention and awareness, and become part of real-decision making around AIDS,” she told me.
Marie is to the right in the pic, with a fellow activist.
Posted on November 27, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, harmful practices, human rights, media, politics, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.
The buzz in Mozambique during the recent elections was not the TV debate among presidential candidates debate (there is none) or their programs (all vague).
What had tongues wagging was citizen’s journalism, dispatches by ordinary folk about electoral irregularities from the Rovuma to the Maputo rivers.
Good stuff: government cars illegally used for campaigning, with cellphone pics of their registration plates (until officials wised up and started covering up plates and ministry logos with party posters). Reports of youth tearing downs other party’s posters, fistfights, intimidation, and police lack of impartiality. (more…)
Posted on November 20, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, children, culture, health, women, men and more.
Posted on November 17, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, children, culture, health, stereotypes, women, men and more.
Guest posting by Gifti Nadi. After ten years with the International Women in Media Foundation in Washington DC, she is back in her home country, Ethiopia.
This was not an ordinary polio vaccination day for the children of Babile and Kombolcha, small towns about 500 km East of Addis Ababa. Ferenjis (foreigners in Amharic) had arrived!
About 100 Rotarians from the USA and Canada paid their way to Harar and Dire Dawa in Eastern Ethiopia to join local health workers in a massive drive to vaccinate 11.5 million children under five nationwide.
In recent years, 24 cases of polio have been detected in Ethiopia, likely coming from Sudan, says the World Health Organisation.
We travelled in small groups to the towns nestled against the backdrop of stunning mountains. We went door to door and were warmly welcomed by the primarily Muslim, Oromo and Somali families. (more…)
Posted on September 21, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, culture, media, religion, reproductive health, stereotypes, women, men and more.
Gender Masala has been dealing with serious topics seriously …it’s time for a fun break! Check out these hilarious condom ads from several continents. They make safe sex fun.
Ranging from sassy dialogue to black humour, these are one-minute comedies with a smart punchline. The Mother from Hell and the Spoiled Brat skits have a Borat-like humour. And who would have thought a condom ad from India would depict anal sex?
Click on the ad from Argentina even if you don’t speak Spanish. Everybody who has been a teenager will chuckle about these teens, their parents and their predicament. (Watch it here)
Laughing got me thinking about how seldom one sees humorous ads about condoms in English-speaking Southern Africa. I have seen some cool ads in Mozambique, though – I think there were Brazilian advisors involved. (more…)
Posted on September 14, 2009, by mercedes, under children, health, human rights, women, men and more.
Next time you read a story or a press release moaning about how country X will not reach the Millennium Development Goals, think twice - whose goal and whose target is it? We know the deadline but do we know the baseline?
Instead of striking a balance between ambition and realism, the MDGs have become “money-metric and donor-centric”, “meaningless catch-all phrases.”
So says Jan Vandemoortele, a Belgian national, a United Nations senior official and one of the architects of the MDGs, in a thought-provoking article in the July issue of Development Policy Review of the Overseas Development Institute. (read it here)
The author recalls that the MDGs were set up in 2000 as collective targets based on extrapolations of global trends. They are vague by definition; they are not one-size-fits-all.
Instead, one should look at countries’ historical backgrounds, natural endowments and specific problems, then adapt the Goals to each circumstance, as Mozambique, Cambodia and Ethiopia have done.
Otherwise, this puts undue pressure on the poorest countries and, given that most of these are in Africa, nurtures Afro-pessimism.
For example, the global target for education “is not realistic” for countries in conflict, he says. (more…)
Posted on September 7, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, children, health, human rights, reproductive health, stereotypes, women, men and more.
My daughter Esmeralda turns 18 today. Like all parents, I am amazed at how time flies. Like all mothers, I get reminiscent about those days, 18 years ago.
I was very pregnant and very happy. I lived in Rome, Italy, and I wanted a home birth.
I wanted music, soft light, friends, baby on my stomach still attached by umbilical cord, no drugs, and no epidural. A birth by my own rules, not by a cold hospital’s.
I found a group specialized in home births – Il Melograno. Their package included ob-gyn and midwife, courses, support and, more importantly, a woman-friendly feel. A photographer from Marie Claire magazine would do a photo reportage on my happy home birth.
Our premise: pregnancy is neither a disease nor a disability. Pregnancy and birth have become over-medicalized; women should reclaim it from doctors overly fond of control and caesareans. (more…)
Posted on September 4, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, HIV/AIDS, culture, human rights, media, violence, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Glenda Muzenda, Care Work Manager at Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA)
I just attended the Grassroots Women’s International Academy on Home Based Care in Johannesburg, South Africa.
It was a mixed bag of fun meeting women from all walks and works of life from Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, Ghana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
The Huairou Commission and the Land Access Movement of South Africa brought us together to share experiences of home-based care.
It is fascinating how in Malawi the care givers alliance has moved forward. Victoria Kalomba, of the Malawi Group of Women Living with HIV and AIDS told us that the ministry of health and social development had spearheaded a campaign to raise awareness about people infected and affected by HIV.
The process had the ministry informing the support groups of individuals who had tested positive after visiting clinics so they could be reached and helped.
I am worried about this way of outing positive people even in the aim of mobilizing support groups. I feel that it is a human right violation to have to give information of someone’s HIV status.
Posted on August 26, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, culture, health, human rights, media, stereotypes, women, men and more.
Open letter by South African gender activists
Some of those championing Caster Semenya’s cause accuse those wanting to sex-test Caster of imperialism and racism (as well as sexism). Others plead to wait before reaching a verdict, arguing that the realities of sex testing are enormously complex
Firstly to address the issue of terminology, over which there seems to be confusion. Gender is the dominant society’s views on how women and men should look, behave, what roles they should play in society, how they should perform and frequently what rewards they receive – hence gender inequity. This has usually led to lower status and discrimination against girls/women but has increasingly been seen as limiting the options and potentially harming boys/men too.
Gender is not a politically correct term for sex. Sex testing would be just that - establishing whether a person is biologically female or male. So gender testing is not the term that should be used this case, but sex testing. (more…)
Posted on August 24, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, HIV/AIDS, culture, health, media, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Pierre Brouard, Deputy Director, Centre for the Study of Aids, University of Pretoria, South Africa
So what headlines have grabbed you lately about male circumcision in South Africa? These caught my eye:
“The death toll in the Eastern Cape’s winter circumcision season has risen to 31”
“Circumcision ’scam’ probed”
“Two on run after initiate dies”
As alarming and distressing as these headlines are – and the sad, desperate and greedy subtexts embedded in them – they don’t say much about the other big debate that is raging across southern Africa: the value of male circumcision to prevent HIV acquisition in heterosexual men, and what’s in it for women. (more…)