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Positive Deviant Practices That Reduce AIDS in Africa

Friday, August 15, 2014   (0 Comments)
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In Three Countries, Political Will Generates Resources

In her New York Times Column Fixes, Tina Rosenberg looks at three surprising positive deviants: African countries doing unusually well in the fight against HIVAIDS.


In Rwanda, one of the world’s poorest countries, 91 percent of people diagnosed as needing antiretroviral therapy to combat AIDS are getting it. In the U.S. only 75 percent who need it get antiretroviral therapy. What explains Rwands’a achievement? It built clinics all over the country and invested in a distribution system to make medicine consistently available. In addition, Rwanda hired and trained 55,000 community health workers who help people manage their health.


Ethiopia reduced HIV AIDS infections among newborns and reduced female genital cutting through community conversations—guided groups of 50 people who meet repeatedly to talk through issues, share knowledge and thoughts with each other, and gradually reach consensus.


Malawi reduced by more half the number of infants who got HIV infections from their mothers. Every clinic that provided prenatal care stocked large quantities of antiretroviral drugs prescribed and administered to every pregnant woman.


Dr. Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners in Health, tells what it takes: political will to increase health budgets and spread access to healthcare as widely as possibles. Read the column here.

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