Associated Press (10.18.05) - Thursday, October 20, 2005
In Malawi, where an estimated 900,000 of its 12 million people
have HIV/AIDS, subsistence farming, a mainstay of the
struggling economy, is suffering. Nationwide, the HIV/AIDS
rate is over 14 percent. In some provinces such as Nsanje in
the south, the rate can soar to 35 percent.
"We don't have machinery for farming, we only have manpower,"
explained Toby Solomon, a Napasha village commissioner. "If we
are sick, or spend our time looking after family members who
are sick, we have no time to spend working in the fields."
Recently, President Bingu wa Mutharika declared Malawi a
disaster area and appealed for international help. He warned
that five million people, nearly half the population, face
hunger because of a food crisis stemming in part from a
About 90,000 people in Malawi die from AIDS each year, and
about half the country's hospital beds hold people with AIDS-
related complications. Of the estimated 140,000 Malawis who
need antiretroviral drugs, only 19,000 were receiving them in
June, according to the World Health Organization. The
government intends to put 80,000 on treatment by the end of
the year, subject to foreign funding.