HIV is changing the face of tropical medicineBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7552.1280 (Published 25 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1280
All rapid responses
I appreciate the observations made the author on Tropical Medicine in
Africa-The Malawi experience, as i will call it.
I took my Undergraduate Education in a Kenyan Medical school/government
run referral hospital and worked as a medical officer at a well-run
missionary hospital after which i worked in an NGO that is treating well
over 16,000 HIV/AIDS patients in Kenya.
I will speak from my experience.
The real problem as i see it is not that tropical diseases have been
forgoten, it is that the funding organisations direct the way things
should be done while the governments sit by. For instance a lot of
resources has been poured towards Malaria eradication
campaigns.Disjointed, vested interests and double talk has seen no progres
in tackling these problem.
When several donor organisations say that they will fund a certain disease
eradication campaign for 3,4,5 years in a small community in the country
several questions beg for answers:
-where will the resources to continue with the project come from?
-what happens to the other parts of the country?
-what will make the situation better after your 5 years?
This is basically the reason why each project started is abandoned
before any realisation of the intended goals---Health for all by the year
2000 when we can not even guarantee safe drinking water for a quarter of
the population in these countries!
Is it any wonder then that trypanosomiasis research has now taken a back
seat for more hype-related diseases like HIV?
Diarrheal diseases continue to account for high numbers of infant/child
mortalities in a country like Kenya but now if it is not in a HIV patient
who is being funded by some external source, whose motivation is any one's
guess, the child could as well be dead.
What happens when Riftvalley fever starts killing us in trackloads? or
bird flu? will we then leave some to the mercy of mutations and explosion
of their viral loads in hot pursuit for the NEW?
For the author of that article this is my take:Until people like you and
me go back to our countries and and start implementing what we envision we
shall continue being like the journalist who covers a great story on
starvation/famine in Northern Kenya during the day, but reclines in a sofa
with sandwiches,burgers and chips at night, totally oblivious of the
corpses next door.
Fredrick chite MD.
Competing interests: No competing interests