Friday, May 29, 2009

AIDS in Africa

Fascinating article on AIDS in Africa and corporate social responsibility on the Harvard Business School website.

"Much of the debate over AIDS in Africa has surrounded the high cost of the drugs that have turned the deadly disease into one that patients in the West can now live with for many years. But another challenge in Africa, according to panelists from the healthcare field and the pharmaceutical industry, is delivering drugs that are donated or available at reduced prices to patients who need them."

"The reality is, [governments] have limited resources. When we have limited resources, how do we use them most effectively?" he said. Governments can use two avenues for education without spending more money, he said. Through the media, the government can insist on precautions. In Kenya, for example, half the population is younger than 15. By training teachers to talk about AIDS prevention, the government can use a built-in educational infrastructure."

We can donate drugs. But if there is no infrastructure to distribute those drugs, we can't do any good," said a representative from Phizer.

Sounds like a good diversion tactic to me. Classic bait and switch. They shift the focus away from themselves onto a topic that, if addressed with government support, would increase their consumer base. But it's still a worthy point.

"AIDS has destroyed education, it has destroyed has destroyed the entire fabric of society."

I was blown away by the fact that half of the population of Kenya is under 15! Crazy huh!? Imagine if the US had that kind of demographic...scary!

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