Black Heritage Month Focus on Excellence in Education
John R. Hernandez
The 2009 column titled “Plurality of One” from the Columbia.edu and Barnyard College page reads, “Held each February at Columbia University, Black Heritage Month (BHM), which is advised and overseen through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, celebrates the rich culture, history and political contributions of the black Diaspora.” It was then I thought why not go out and find an extraordinary subject to identify with the celebration of Black Heritage Month. Shortly thereafter I ran into Ahmed Kaboreza a four year graduate of Georgia Southern University’s Health Education and Promotion Program.
During the interview Mr. Kaboreza told me he was born and raised in Burkina Faso which lies between Benin and Ghana in West Africa.
I asked him why he chose this program and he told me he just wanted to help people, “In my country Cholera and Aids are serious deceases for which one can develop prevention awareness programs that can help different populations because, funds are few for further expensive work. Unlike America where the chronic circumstances of these deceases can lead to much further measures, which, are often supported by greater funding. So it’s better to focus on prevention there.” After boarding school and studying economics he decided to turn his attention to issues of public health awareness. With the help of his parents who contributed to his tuition he chose to move to Statesboro in 2005 to study at Georgia Southern where he is now pursuing his Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology. He said he has made many friends there, and as a hobby enjoys playing soccer and his favorite team is Manchester United. The importance of AIDS awareness and prevention programs met a quandary back in the late 1990’s which required further analysis. My research for this story took me as far as South Africa by way of the OxfordJournals.org web pages. An article on AIDS policy found in the African Affairs page, by Nicoli Nattrass, Director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the (University of Cape Town). Shows how political policy coupled with continued support for blockading the use of precious medical treatment between 1999 and 2006 hurt hundreds of thousands of South Africans. The article shows how negative political strategy as a result of the denial by President Mbeki and later his Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang to heed the scientific and medical communities call for the continued use of ARV’s (antiretroviral drugs) in treatment and prevention programs. This ultimately had a catastrophic effect on the population, as well as Aids policy in South Africa. Mr. Nattrass says that had the ARV’s not been opposed, “…the 171,000 AIDS infections and another 343,000 deaths could have been avoided between 1999 and 2007.” Perhaps the idea of promoting awareness about the circumstances and outcome of contamination are necessary, as well as allowing for the use of drugs that have proven to be beneficial in contrast to offering political lip service which, according to scientific statistics and medical protocol could have helped to lessen the number of cases of infections, human suffering, and deaths in South Africa. Since the late 1990’s many in the medical field have known of the importance of ART’s (Antiretroviral Treatments) but, negative public policy curtailed their use. It has taken steady pressure from the medical community and many court challenges to bring about changes in policy which now has grown steadily due to the continued positive results in testing. In an article titled, “Increasing Access To Antiretroviral Drugs Would Drastically Cut AIDS Deaths In South Africa”
By The Science Daily (Mar. 28, 2008), it says that,“…more that 1.2 million deaths could be prevented in South Africa over the next five years by accelerating efforts to provide access to antiretroviral therapy (ART),…”
The articles tells us that researchers have found that there is a significant downward slope in the number of deaths, “…among other factors, calculations were based on the fact that the one-year survival rate for eligible patients who receive antiretroviral therapy is 94 percent, while only 55 percent of those not treated would be expected to survive one year.” That’s a 40% increase in life expectancy as a result of the use of antiretroviral drugs. Furthermore, the importance of AIDS awareness programs such as those which have been included into the curriculum of study at Georgia Southern University in East Georgia, have been instrumental in helping to bring qualified Health Studies candidates like Mr. Kaboreza there. These much needed programs have also helped to stem the tide of this growing epidemic. Not only here in the US, but in a part of the world where Aids education and treatment, for many years, had been discouraged. In celebration of African American Heritage this publisher and New Dawn Media Horizons is proud to get to know and salute the excellent work of students like Ahmed Kaboreza, who has dedicated himself to such a worthy cause.
Reference to articles;
Oxford Journals Social Sciences African AffairsVolume107, Issue 427Pp. 157-176.
Nicoli.Nattrass@gmail. Com 02/07/2008
“Increasing Access To Antiretroviral Drugs Would Drastically Cut AIDS Deaths In South Africa”
Science Daily (Mar. 28, 2008)
“In my country Cholera and Aids are serious deceases for which one can develop prevention awareness programs that can help different populations…”
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John R. Hernandez