Miracles in Africa

27 03 2010

Miracles in Africa is a program of LDS Charities as a part of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).  This program deals with villagers in small African tribal communities working with Latter-day Saint Charities to improve their health and quality of life.

One of the wells in Sierra Leone

In central Sierra Leone, there is a village named Bo that LDS Charities are focusing their efforts toward.  In this village there are more than 130,000 people and there are no paved roads, no electricity, and no water systems.  Because of their lack of resources, about 50 people walk miles to a river or the next village every day for water.

LDS Charities has come to Bo in order to build a well in their village.  Before they build they form a “water committee” with in the village and train them in maintenance and how to keep the water clean and safe for the community.  Each committee member must go through training classes and Matthew Heaps, the clean water initiative manager for Humanitarian Services explains why this training is so important by explaining that, “ This training allows families to discover the importance of hygiene, how to keep their hands clean, and how to properly care for water once it has been obtained from the well. Our goal in each community is for them to feel complete ownership so they will maintain the well and take responsibility for their health.”

I feel that this program is so completely efficient because of how thoroughly it is planned through.  They do not just build them a well and leave.  They train the people of weeks before construction even begins so that the people are able to maintain the well on their own and take responsibility for their own health.


Education in Africa

12 02 2010

These children are orphans because their parents were killed by the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa

Health People 2010 states that a lack of education is one of the major reasons for health disparities. Disease occurs when people do not know how to prevent or treat a disease.  Health disparities researcher Dr. Dana Goldman says, “Better-educated people are healthier, but the magnitude of the relationship between health and education varies substantially across groups and over time.”  There needs to be a closing of the gap in health knowledge.  In fact, CHAPS is an organization who is trying to bridge the gap because they have a goal to promote health and to eliminate health disparities at a global scale.

Southern Africa is an excellent example of a health disparity due to education problems.  Because of the lack of education in Sothern Africa, their occurrence of AIDS is astronomical.  In 2008 there were an estimated 22.4 million adults and children in Sub-Sahara and Africa living with HIV compared to the 1 million in the United States.  Also, 1.4 million of those African people died from AIDS in that same year.   The African people are not aware that many of them have AIDS and do not know how to prevent contracting the disease.  Because of this lack of education some businesses in Southern Africa are now providing worksite AIDS/HIV education classes while providing free testing and counseling for their employees.