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Economy

Kenya among top countries bearing heavy HIV/Aids burden

Kenya is among the top five sub-Saharan Africa countries with the highest burden of HIV/Aids, a new report by University of Washington in USA has shown.

The report, The Burden of HIV: Insights from the GBD 2010, shows the epidemic accounts for 15.3 per cent of the national disease burden and that 18.1 per cent of deaths in Kenya are caused by Aids-related complications. According to last year’s Economic Survey, 12,176  Kenyans died of Aids in 2011.

The USA report released last week ranks HIV/Aids as the leading cause of disease burden in 21 countries in eastern and southern Africa, Central Africa, the Caribbean, and South East Asia.

South Africa takes the lead with 40 per cent followed by Botswana with 30 per cent, Zambia 18.3 per cent and Tanzania with 17.3 per cent.

Ethiopia, at three per cent, had the lowest disease burden arising from HIV/Aids. Rwanda’s burden stood at 5.5 per cent, Nigeria (7.4 per cent) and Ghana (eight per cent). DRC had a national disease burden of 9.7 per cent and Uganda 14.7 per cent attributable to the scourge.

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The report said sub-Sahara Africa accounts for 70.9 per cent of the global health loss attributable to HIV/Aids with progress in tackling the disease mixed.

In Rwanda, Botswana and Zimbabwe mortality due to HIV/Aids decreased dramatically from epidemic peaks in 2010 while in DRC, Angola and the Central African Republic, there was no progress.

In some other countries where there was no active implementation of effective interventions and treatments, the consequences were much severe.

‘‘Even in African countries that are showing significant progress—like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and others — HIV remains a health threat and continued vigilance will be critical.” said Dr. Felix Masiye, head of the department of economics at the University of Zambia who participated in the research.

HIV is an exception to the Africa health landscape where non-communicable diseases, injuries and disabling conditions are on the rise.

“Aids is not just a problem in Africa,” said Dr. Rafael Lozano, a researcher with Washington University and Director of Latin American and Caribbean Initiatives and one of the authors of the research.

“We see significant mortality numbers from Aids in countries as varied as Venezuela, Thailand and Jamaica.”

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