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Friday, 19 November 2004

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A. Che Mofor

Very special appreciation to Dr. Vivien Khumbah for her effort in fighting HIV/AIDS in Cameroon. She is just one of those Cameroonians who honestly recognise this epidemic as a serious threat and danger to our society in every domain. The risks that such medics take in doing such a job must not be neglected. Thanks for having people like you in Cameroon.

I noticed that her approach to the problem is not only from the medical point of view, but also in the ideal christian fashion (even though Cameroon also has muslims!). In my opinion, even this God-fearing approach has to be looked into in a more critical way. Is this approach being employed because there is a greater tendency of Africans to fear God than in the West, or because we really have true believers in Africa? In a sense, we are taking the Word of God to the HIV/AIDS centres. What are the churches and mosques doing? The big and honest question I have is: how many Cameroonians (youths and adults) are prepared to sacrifice their sexual life for religious reasons - forgetting about HIV/AIDS? Cameroonians know nearly every necessary aspect of religion as far as furnication, adultry, prostitution etc are concerned. Indeed, that is a society in which all sorts of churches have implanted themselves such that every 5 houses may boast of their own church. The logic of condemning condoms is intelligent, but let's also imagine a Cameroon in the absence of condoms!. I think it is time that we become more pragmatic with this issue of HIV/AIDS.

The fight against HIV/AIDS should not be carried out only with the sermon of abstinence, because recent results and developments show that this sermon is entering one of the listener's ears and leaving through the other ear. The Cameroonian society is such that, because of social problems, people's mentality and for many other reasons, sexual promisquity, sex trade, and all forms of infidelity the battle field for the fight against the epidemic is very broad. In my opinion, we must recognise that youths (mostly girls) from the age of 12 are already heavily involved in sex-related activities. Because of social difficulties, such girls jump from one usually much older partner to another in quest for money or minor material things. The tendency of young people being involved in sex-related activities is similar in the West, but more people stick to one partner. To cut the story short, our politicians must recognise that HIV/AIDS is a serious economic problem that needs the attention of political resources. First, by improving in the standard of living of Cameroonians and diverting even some of the monies in Swiss and other foreign banks to help the nation in this very serious problem.

From prevention through our methods of diagnosis to the best available and affordable treatment, our government needs to see what is happening in Uganda, South Africa etc. Our medics need to copy the example of Dr. Vivien Khumbah and recognise that they have to play their role with ethics of medicine learnt at school and use their position not to sing "dimabola" but to call our leaders to order. If the life expectancy of Cameroonians has fallen by more than 10 years within a 10-year period, it means the future of Cameroon shall be a catastrophy.

Everyone, from youths to parents to the president of our nation has to be honest and put their hands together. God shall certainly provide the world with a lasting solution to this problem.

A. Che Mofor

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