The woman on bed 27 in Maputo Central Hospital’s oncology ward has no idea how lucky she is. In January, when abdominal pains wracked her, a pharmacist suggested pain killers. For months, “the pain would go and return,” she told IPS.
They say there is a war on and its target is the deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Mozambique struggles to contain the HIV epidemic with one in ten among its 24 million people infected. Helping them is not easy when only 60 percent of people have access to health services.
If you live in São Tomé, a good investment in your health is to plant a po-sabom tree (Dracaena aroborea) in your backyard. Leave space: it can grow up to 20 metres high, with sword-shaped leaves.
Zinaldina dos Reus, Zizi for her friends, is washing clothes by a stream near the airport in São Tomé. Her toddler plays nearby. Zizi, 21, can't remember the last time she or her husband had malaria, years ago. She credits the free bed nets and anti-mosquito home spraying regularly supplied countrywide since 2004.
Their mud huts perch precariously on the eroded, high embankment of the Zambezi river, in the provincial capital of Tete, in central Mozambique. But watching their homes be washed away by erosion or floods is just another risk for the residents of Matundo and Matheus Sansao Muthemba bairros. Their lives are as precarious as their homes.
Cash transfers are the new darlings of proponents of welfare programmes. Mexico, Brazil, Bangladesh, lately New York City, and about two dozen developing countries presently dole out money to poor families, usually with conditions attached, such as taking their children to school and health checkups.
Laws against female genital mutilation are driving the practice underground and across borders, says UNIFEM.
Public health and individual human rights are poor friends. What may be good for society may be bad for the individual, or the other way round. And nothing sharpens this tension as starkly as AIDS.
What do they have in common - the landless widow with a deaf son in Bangladesh, the 12-year-old miner in Kyrgyzstan, the Ugandan farming couple with 12 children and the South African domestic worker who loses her home when her husband dies and her job when she breaks a leg? They, and their children, are trapped in chronic poverty, even as their countries show economic growth.
Annette* is a small, lively woman in her early sixties. Married to an abusive husband - who once threw boiling water on her, landing her in hospital - she was not repeating the story with her alcoholic and drug-addicted son. Just as her husband was growing older and calmer, her son was getting increasingly violent.
The fragrance of ginger and paw paws from market stalls floats into the tiny room where Musisi Josephus Gavah shows visitors a thick ledger - the register of members of the Mukono District Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS.
In the Nguni languages, which include Zulu and Xhosa, an "indlavini" is a violent and reckless man who disrespects elders and tradition. The indlavini emerged in the early twentieth century, when millions of South African men migrated to towns – looking for jobs in the gold and diamond mines.
Traffic stops around the Old Mosque in the Senegalese capital. Thousands fill the streets, and when the muezzin calls, they kneel, bow and pray in perfect unison.
The sermon is about the earthly problem of how to avoid contracting HIV, and helping people who have the virus. On Sunday, Catholics will hear a similar message.
It's 13:30 in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, on Friday. Traffic stops around the Old Mosque. The sound of babouches shuffling on the pavement replaces hooting. Thousands fill the streets.