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Does The Lack Of Education In Africa Cause Disease And Poverty?

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Most Americans are conscious of the privation and misery that exist in third world countries all around the globe. Each day millions of people in destitute counties are left starving and weakened from illnesses. Several African countries such as, Sudan, Tanzania, and Ethiopia are quintessential third world countries; they are some of the most deprived countries in the world. In these nations, warfare and government may set the foundation of poverty and disease, but several other causes throw logs into the burning fire. Lack of education in Africa is another cause for poverty and ailment. Hundreds of millions of Africans are illiterate. Due to the lack of education about disease in the continent, millions are infected with lethal illnesses annually. Some of these disease include tuberculosis, Ebola, malaria, and of course the most well known sickness the AIDS virus.

From a very young age Africans are disadvantaged when it comes to being educated. Only 56% of African children attend school and only about a third of that number actually finishes grade school. For the fortunate children who are able to attend a school, life is astonishingly harder than any American student would know. Schools have very little equipment, having a chalkboard is considered privileged and most schools do not have desks, just cold, dirt floors for their students to sit on. Space is another concern. Schools are exceedingly overpopulated; some are so congested that the students cannot spread their books out. In many cases teachers are forced to teach hundreds of students do to the lack of educators. Students are taught in the blistering heat and bitter cold, for their schools have no heat or air conditioning. Additionally almost all schools are barely standing because they are made from recycled parts of ships, buildings, and in some cases they are built from packed mud bricks. This is how the privileged children are educated; millions more are unable to go to school because they must work for their family or even for themselves because their families are too poor to give them an education ("Charity").

Africa is considerably the poorest continent in the world and home to the poorest nations in the world. As a continent it has per-capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of only $460. In addition the per-capita income has declined by 0.2% since the early 90s (Masci). Several African counties have some of the lowest GNP (Gross National Product) in the world, Mozambique, a country located in southeast Africa has the lowest per-capita GNP in world with $80 (Walter). Poverty has worsened in Africa over the last 20 years. Few nations have managed to diminish poverty in any real sense. Economic struggle in the continent has left millions starving for food. In fact every 3.6 seconds at least one person in Africa dies of malnourishment and just under 75% of that number are children under the age of five (Crabtree).

Almost everyone is aware of the health problems in Africa. It almost seems as if every African is suffering from at least one type of ailment whether that sickness is AIDS or one of the many other deadly disease. HIV/AIDS is not the only ailment that is killing people in Africa. Malaria in one such disease, in the 1990s, the frequency of malaria has been escalating at a disturbing rate in Africa. More than 90% of the world's 500 million cases of malaria are in children under 5 years of age in Africa. Malaria is a disease that can cause severe fevers which in many cases are deadly. It is mainly cause through mosquitoes (Crabtree).

Tuberculosis is another disease that is many times overlooked because if AIDS. Nearly 3.3 million people are infected and that number is rising steadily. Tuberculosis is a disease of the respiratory system and is spread through sneezing and coughing. Studies have shown that HIV and TB are linked. (WHO)

However one knows that the most devastating, deadly, and prevalent disease in Africa is the HIV/AIDS virus. Almost two-thirds of people with HIV in the world live in Sub-Saharan Africa, even though less than one-tenth of the world's population lives there. In that same area the epidemic claimed the lives of over 2.3 million people last year as well as 3.1 million people. The virus is expected to rapidly grow over the next few years because of the lack of care, treatment, and education. Four countries in Africa now have over 24 percent of their adult population with HIV, theses countries being Botswana with 37%, Lesotho with 29%, Swaziland with 39%, and Zimbabwe with 25%. In the Sub-Sahara life expectancy is shortened by 15 years due to the AIDS plague. In the western world one can live with HIV/AIDS because they can afford proper medication, testing is easy, and condoms are available. However in Africa these things are not available and many are left uneducated about the deadly disease. This is why the virus shows no evidence of slowing down in Africa (Avert).

The last thing a parent in Africa, or anywhere, wants to hear is that the age at which a child has their first sexual encounter is getting younger and younger, while HIV/AIDS is spreading more and more. With the HIV/AIDS running rampant all over Africa, sex education is needed more than ever and can be a possible antidote for the HIV/AIDS virus. Some even say that replacing the study of reproduction in the biology syllabus with a sex education class assists the cause all the more. According to the United Nations Population Fund, in some parts of Africa 33% of juveniles have had sexual intercourse by their sixteenth birthday and for young women in particular the statistics are more shocking. "Information received in the classroom is especially important to girls, who are far less likely than boys to have basic knowledge about how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and have less access to other sources of accurate information" (

Statistics show that in many parts of Africa, more than half of young women under the age of 16 have had sex, however many of these girls have been coerced into participating in sexual actions. Sex education is not just lacking in schools, but at home as well, as many African parents do not talk to their children about the dangers of sex. Though some studies have shown that sex education and basic life lessons only delay sexual encounters; they are extremely significant and can be a small solution for the immense problem many Africans face (

Sex is not the only thing that young Africans must be knowledgeable about in order to slowly kill disease. Sanitation is just another element of life that can be very hazardous to Africans. "In Africa, more than elsewhere, water is at the core of all development challenges. Every year, due to the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation, cholera, typhoid and different forms of dysentery take the lives of



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