News & CommentaryArchive
Apr 02, 2007
One Thing Leads to Another, in AIDS Treatment Too
This month’s Atlantic has a feature article about Darfur which posits that the crisis there is a direct result not of ethnic hostility, but of the resource-destroying impacts of global warming. While this position is not entirely new (Samantha Power effectively drew the same connection in a New Yorker piece published in early 2004), it does highlight one of the truisms of aid work, which is that all things are connected. This ranges from the obvious – i.e. that HIV/AIDS work can be facilitated through broader investment in public health – to the less so – i.e. that environmental degradation can have a direct, negative impact on conflict recovery.
The connectedness of things was highlighted recently in a Wall Street Journal piece profiling the work of Dr. Joe Mamlin, a medical professor at Indiana University. Dr. Mamlin runs an HIV/AIDS treatment program in Kenya called Ampath (Academic Model for Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS), which has a farming component. The farming element came about after Dr. Mamlin noticed that the patients who weren’t improving sufficiently with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment were almost without exception those who did not get enough food. Nearly a third of the people in sub-Saharan Africa – nearly three-hundred million – are malnourished, making HIV infection and food scarcity a frequent point of confluence in the region. By including farming in its services, Ampath provides people receiving ARVs from Ampath with food and puts them on the road to health. Once the patients reach a certain point of fitness, they are then taught to raise their own food and given skills training as well. Sounds like a certain fisherman I’ve heard about ...
It’s been said before that providing medicines is simply not enough. But the same principle can be applied to many areas of aid: When something is examined in isolation, opportunities are missed to make efforts – and dollars – more effective.
The Atlantic: The Real Roots of Darfur
The Wall Street Journal: In Kenya, AIDS Therapy Includes Fresh Vegetables