NIGERIA HIV/AIDS NEWS
HIV/Aids Highest Amongst Educated, Rich Cameroonians
August 22, 2005 :: Willibroad B. Nformi The Post (Buea)
According to the 2004 Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Cameroon, the HIV/AIDS prevalence is instead higher among educated persons.
The Demographic and Health Survey that was carried out from February to August 2004, was presented to the public at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel on August 17.
The Minister of State in charge of Plan, Programming and Regional Development, Hon. Augustin Frederic Kodock, in the presence of other government officials and members of the diplomatic corps presided over the occasion.
A deafening wave of disapproval swept across the hall when the Permanent Secretary of the Central Technical Group of the National AIDS Control Committee, Dr. Maurice Feuzeu, said the educated and the rich were hard hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Many onlookers sought to disbelieve what they saw as a bitter paradox.
The Scribe said the Demographic and Health Survey that was conducted on 10 000 men and women still indicates that Cameroon has an HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 5.5 percent. Quoting statistics, Dr. Feuzeu said women who have attended primary, secondary and higher education are twice more likely to be infected than women who have never seen the four walls of a classroom for formal education.
It was noted that the pandemic is also hitting hard on women who have divorced or lost their husbands. It was established that the scourge was higher among educated and rich people that among the poor and uneducated.
According to the survey, women between the ages of 25 and 29 bag an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 10.3 percent while men who fall within the ages of 35 and 39 have 8.6 percent. The report equally highlighted statistics on infant mortality. Stating the facts, the Director of National Statistics, Mr. Joseph Tedou, said the number of infant mortality has dropped.
He said out of 1000 born and living babies in the country, 74 die as compared to 77 in 1998. He also stated that the number of deaths in babies that are not up to a year has dropped. He put the figures at 144 in 2004 as against 151 in 1998 per 1000 babies. He attributed this drop to the aggressive vaccination campaign carried out by the Expanded Programme on Immunization.
Speaking during the occasion, the Minister of Plan, Programming and Regional Development, Kodock, said the survey was quite relevant, promising that government will use the facts to improve on the health policy of the population. According to him, the results will help government to accelerate its endeavours at achieving the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs and improve on the execution of the Poverty Reduction strategy Paper, PRSP.
Speaking to The Post, many people expressed concern about claims that the educated and rich were hard hit by the pandemic. Others claimed that it was true because many people who are educated and are rich, are not only morally bankrupt, but also have the financial means to convince partners for sex.