Despite Africa South of the Sahara’s rich history the present day is filled with tragedy. Disease and poverty have taken such a serious toll on the region that the death rate is constantly rising. Not to mention the great population that is also steady increasing at an alarming rate, creating more famine and disease to spread throughout the land.
HIV/AIDS is the fifth main cause of death in this part of the world. This disease has already destroyed so many lives in Africa since the 1960’s and is continuing to demise a majority of the population. By this year, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is expected to be the third leading cause of death.
This disease destroys a person’s immune system causing them to be more susceptible to other fatal diseases such as tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, cancer, pneumonia, and others. Many people contract the disease from having sexual intercourse without protection causing the bodily fluids to mix. It is also caused by the sharing of dirty needles, from mother to child either from birth or through breast milk, and through transfusions of infected blood. Once infected with this disease a person is incurable and will eventually die.
Often times people receive the disease because of the increased spread of poverty, a traditional family breakdown of support systems, and miners having sexual intercourse with prostitutes and then transporting the disease to their wives.
So many people have contracted the disease already that treatment for it is scarce and costly. Many people can not afford to take on the medical expenses and they end up suffering until their death.
Orphans roam the streets of Africa because many of their family members have passed away from the disease and they are left to survive on their own. Africa South of the Sahara has the world’s highest and most rapidly increasing spread of the disease. This region reported that 40% of the population has already contracted the disease being the ages of 15-49 years.
Organizations are constantly working solutions in order to control this critical problem by providing condoms, sex education to the youth, and educating people on the harmfulness’ of the disease. However, more money, in this region, is spent on armaments than on facilities to help people with this fatal condition.
Not only has HIV/AIDS taken a serious toll on this region but tropical diseases have also. Tropical diseases are one of the main environmental problems of Africa S. of the Sahara. This tropical climate creates epidemics such as malaria, river blindness, cholera, Ebola, and sleeping sickness. Sleeping sickness comes from tsetse fly infestations from the cattle. Sleeping sickness has had the power of killing more than 200,000 people in one year. There is a cure for this fatal disease, however, many people can not afford health care to treat it.
Famine is also a huge problem in this part of the world. Many people can not afford food to adequately supply their families. Many children die at a very young age from malnutrition and diseases associated with malnutrition. The widespread of poverty, inefficient food distribution, and the population growth are all factors to the reason that famine has taken such a heavy toll on this region. Somalia, Kenya, and Rwanda are some of the many countries effected by this horrible problem.
Population in Africa S. of the Sahara has had such an alarming increase that the population rate has exceeded the economic growth. Many of the countries in this region are unable to supply adequate food and water to the masses because of the increasingly large population. Many of these countries rely on outside help from other countries and continents in order to receive a limited supply of food.
In only twenty one years the population almost doubled from about 380 million people to 638 million people in Africa S. of the Sahara. The population increase in the year 2000 was 1% over that of the agricultural growth causing serious problems for supplying adequate food supplies to the people. As modern medicine became sufficient the death rate fell, however, the birthrates mostly stayed the same or decreased very slowly.
Africa plans on controlling the population. The plan is to encourage people to have smaller families because of the many pressures that larger families have to deal with; including: economical, political, and cultural issues. The population is also being forcibly controlled by the epidemic of HIV/AIDS which is constantly increasing the death toll and reducing the life expectancies in this region.
As the population steadily increases in Africa so may the threat of serious diseases. Hopefully as technology enhances and medical solutions began to become more apparent than this portion of the world will one day regain its richness.