God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

No time to rest…

It is amazing – after 24 hours at airports and in the air back in South Africa and it takes not even minutes to receive the first phone call. How do they know that one is back in the country, just switching on the cell? This week is occupied a lot from work with HOPE Cape Town. The transition phase is ongoing but I get the feel that we are getting there. The website need an update and all the news about the new cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm must be beamed up. We started research in the fields of E-learning: How do our people learn best? With paper documents, computers or handheld devices? A 6 months study will hopefully tell us more about it.
But it was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and lectures from Neu-Ulm coming to Cape Town for a week of extensive work. And it was good for our HOPE Community Health worker to see how networking is functioning and how important it is to learn from each other.
Other meetings with fellow priests and friends complemented the week and there was also a second meeting regarding founding a European Club for Cape Town. A club, where one can do networking; but also intellectual and spiritual exchange should take place. And not only once a week or once a month. The club should provide a venue to be accessible every day, just to bump in for a drink and a chat or a business meeting. To make such an idea working one has to look at existing clubs to liaise and form an additional grouping using the facility. I find it an exciting idea and I have the impression that all involved like to work hard to get it off the ground and going.

Ending a time as chaplain at sea means also to write a report about your work, the church wants to know what one has done in this swimming vineyard and even some guests have already taken the opportunity to send greetings from home to their “ex-chaplain”.

Church wise the appointment of Bishop Mueller from Regensburg in Germany to be “God’s watchdog” has created some debate and yeah, I guess, it is debatable. He has a diversity which leaves one sometimes guessing in which direction it explodes. On one hand he is a friend of one of the most acknowledged liberation theologian in South America; on the other hand he dealt with laity in his diocese in a way which is more than questionable. And for the Pius-brothers he seems to be a heretic – denying the virgin birth of Jesus and the teaching of transubstantiation. So it seems nobody is really happy – except the pope I guess and I think we just have to wait and see what is happening. Even if the past might be difficult, there is always the hope that people can change or grow into a job in a way serving God and the people.  All the hasty judgements,be it positive or negative are too early. Let him start and we will see…

Reading also the news on AIDS I see that Uganda starts to have problems related to resistance. This comes not as a suprise, this is indeed one of the biggest challenges we have to keep the virus far away from turning into a nasty resistant one. But the chances are high that it will happen if we don’t watch out very carefully, also here in South Africa.
I also note that the OraSure HIV home kit test is now FDA approved. I remember sitting with the representative of this company quite some years ago and at that time I felt that this test could prove good to make testing easier and avoid the pre-test counselling which I believe we have to stop doing as soon as possible. But local government and the hospitals were not keen at that time even to listen to such a test not performed in a hospital setting.

Well, weekend is coming and I hope there is time for some reading. I just have counted: There are 23 books waiting to be read…

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PlusNews Examines Cases of Hospital-Acquired HIV in Africa – The Body

PlusNews Examines Cases of Hospital-Acquired HIV in Africa – The Body.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Medical and Research, , ,

27.10.2009 The state of the health care system in SA

An insight into the health system of South Africa is given by the following article published by IOL and spread throughout the country – this article speaks for itself:

South Africa’s public hospitals are in a bleak state with failing equipment, a lack of basic consumables and dwindling numbers of doctors, Parliament heard on Wednesday.  Professor Bongani Mayozi, the head of internal medicine at the University of Cape Town, told the portfolio committee on health it was taking up to three days for patients to get a bed in a public hospital. “It takes about 24 hours a day for us to put 50 percent of people into a bed,” he said. “These people are sitting on a chair or lying on a trolley. They are very sick. They need to be admitted. Some people wait up to three days to get into a bed. “We regard this situation as completely unacceptable. Something that you would not wish on your mother or father.” Mayozi said surgical lists in many centres had been cut, equipment had not been renewed and there had been an overall decrease in tertiary level beds. The capacity to train new doctors had also been severely diminished. “When you go to war you need troops. You can’t fight a war without soldiers.”
South Africa is producing 0.58 doctors per 1 000 people, he said. Brazil and Mexico, with a similar gross domestic product per capita, are producing nearly two doctors per 1 000.
“As a result of this South Africa’s infant mortality rate is a lot higher than it should be and more people are dying from infectious diseases,” he said. Mayozi said the situation had arisen due to an “increasing demand” with “diminishing resources”. “When one looks at the reasons for the lack of progress, they are not difficult to find. They are related to under-investment to our public health sector over the past 15 years.” Andries Stulting, the acting head of the school of medicine at the University of the Free State, said the province’s health care situation is in a dire position. “There is a collapse of systems in the Free State. TB, HIV, primary health care, hospital services, training platforms, research, you name it, we are declining.  “We can’t do elective surgery anymore. Patients with hernias and cataracts. They don’t seem to be emergencies, so we cannot operate. People go blind and people can’t do their work.  “We don’t have basic things like eye pads, eye shields, medications… or should we keep quiet because we can be reprimanded?
“I hope I can give you some good news, but at the moment there is none.” –

Filed under: HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , ,

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