Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise - Accountability

Richard Mbuthia

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The title of this article is, incidentally, this year's World Aids Day theme. This theme is designed to inspire citizens across the world to hold their political leaders accountable for the promises they have made on AIDS.

Here in Africa, our leaders have helped set up so many Aids-related funds, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and institutions. For that, and myriad more, we laud them. But there is still so much that has to be done for our people and to our people.

The HIV prevalence rates are growing grimmer by the day. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 39.5 million people living with HIV, including 2.3 million children, and during 2006 some 4.3 million people became newly infected with the virus. It is estimated that around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and die of AIDS before they are 35. (The sixty-four-thousand dollar question: how many of our youth can boast of a HIV free status?)

If these statistics are anything to go by, then our leaders should devote more of their time, energy and resources in addressing the Aids scourge and come up with better ways of combating the spread of the disease. Our leaders should borrow a leaf from Senator Obama, if they must. The said US Senator took an HIV test in full public view when he visited Kenya sometime this year.

If our leaders decide to take a similar a stand, it will help accentuate (to the citizenry) the importance of knowing one's HIV status so that one can take better charge of life. The line would run something like this: Mr. ***, my Member of Parliament, took a HIV test last week. This is two weeks after the president took such a test too. Therefore, it is equally important for me to know my status! .

The destinies of our nations are greatly hinged on our leaders’ decisions, attitudes, what they take seriously and whether or not they live up to what they proclaim. This is proof enough that they should be epitomes of moral perfection and integrity.

With so many people looking up to you, Sirs, you have so much to deal with on your plates that you can not possibly afford to be complacent and vacillate on matters of national interest.

HIV/AIDS is one such matter. Our leaders ought to live up to what they promise the people they lead. Accountability is of utmost importance in this respect.

  • We have been promised better health care: please make good your promise.

  • We have been promised more campaigns to sensitize people on HIV/AIDS prevention: please deliver the goods.

  • We have been promised more interactive approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention and education: please keep your promises.

  • We have been promised more aid to the needy and poor who are HIV positive: please, please, please don't let us down.

  • We have been promised anti-retroviral drugs that will be given free of charge: please, just know that millions of lives are hanging in the balance.

    As we go into World Aids Day tomorrow let us endeavour to keep our promises and, as a result, build accountability.

    Aids Awareness Campaigns: Unnecessary Semantics? .

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