THEMA: Himbas und Aids
19 Apr 2006 15:35 #15513
  • Ulli
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  • Ulli am 19 Apr 2006 15:35
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Da sicher die meisten von euch auch des Englischen mächtig sind erlaube ich mir hier einen Artikel von IRINnews (einem News-Dienst der UN) zu posten. Er behandelt den Einfluss von AIDS auf die Himbakultur...

Übrigens, diese Newsletter kann man kostenfrei abonnieren (siehe [url] [/url] ) . Man bekommt zum Teil gute Hintergrundinformationen, auch solche in der normalen Presse untergehen. Und ich finde sie gehören dazu - Afrika-Romantik möchte ich auch nicht missen, sie ist aber nicht alles.

Hier nun der Artikel,

Gruss Ulli

NAMIBIA: HIV/AIDS brings change in Himba communities

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

WINDHOEK, 11 April (PLUSNEWS) - Namibia's pastoral Himba community has largely remained separate from the rest of Namibian society, but NGOs warn that their cultural practices and isolation from HIV/AIDS prevention efforts could heighten their vulnerability to the virus.

\"Faithfulness to one partner is unheard of to the Himba,\" said Kakarandua Mutambo, the Red Cross Society manager of the Kunene region in northern Namibia, as she explained the difficulties AIDS workers faced in accessing the group.

The Himba are also outside the mainstream in terms of education and healthcare. According to Kunene's Regional AIDS Coordinating Committee, at 13 percent the region has the lowest prevalence rate in Namibia. Nevertheless, there has been a significant increase: in 1998 HIV prevalence stood at just six percent.

Kunene also has the lowest literacy rate - 57 per cent - which affects campaigns to raise awareness of the disease.

The Himba culture encourages men who are rich in cattle to have more than one wife - many older men marry several young girls, and women are often married to cousins or other relatives in pre-arranged marriages, with most falling pregnant very young.

While adultery is not condoned, and any man caught is liable to a fine of over 12 head of cattle, it is not uncommon to find married Himba women having up to three boyfriends on the side.

\"A woman who sticks to her man is a subject of ridicule and is often considered to be useless. You also find that some men openly share their wives, especially uncles with their favourite nephews,\" Mutambo commented. They go bare-breasted and daub their bodies with ochre, wear skins, shells and iron jewellery.

According to Mutambo, the Himba will \"tell you that AIDS is not a disease of their tribe,\" though they acknowledge it exists in the outside world, and while \"they have heard of the disease, they have never seen anyone succumbing to it in their villages. In the past it was unheard of in their communities of someone in the 20s dying. Its happening now, but the Himba do not make the connection between AIDS and the frequent deaths, hospitalisation and AIDS-related tuberculosis\".

AIDS is considered the disease of those who have been in contact with the Ovambo [another major ethnic group in northern Namibia], the young who go off to the towns, or those who intermarry with other ethnic groups, Mutambo said.

Consequently, the Himba tended to keep their daughters at home after primary school rather than allowing them to go away to secondary schools.

In response to the high maternal death rate amongst the group's women - the highest in the country - the Namibia Red Cross Society has been teaching them about contraception, family planning, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS since 2001.

The NGO's biggest challenge has been to convince the Himba to change a way of life they have stubbornly followed for so long.

Volunteers are viewed with suspicion, but the organisation has recently begun training volunteers from the community. \"Foreigners are considered to be out to gather information that they will sell back in the cities ... We have managed to win the Himba's confidence because we also give them fresh water to drink,\" Mutambo said.

AIDS messages using drama are more effective, because \"some listen, but others will not; some even ask you how they will have children when using condoms\".

Charles Varije, the Namibia Red Cross Society's regional HIV/AIDS coordinator in Kunene region, told PlusNews that HIV/AIDS was not an immediate concern for the pastoralists, who were more concerned with the state of their cattle - which was why men often preferred to live with the cattle at distant gazing sites, giving them the opportunity to have extramarital relationships.

Officials at Oshakati State Hospital, located in the largest urban area in the north, said the Himba preferred traditional medicine to modern healthcare. \"The problem is they have seen people dying after being hospitalised, but most come to hospital when it is already too late,\" said Panduleni Muupwe, a health worker at the facility.

Antiretroviral drugs were made available to the region in 2004 and the incidence of STIs was decreasing, Muupwe noted.

Nature is also leaving its mark on the Himba's way of life. Their grazing land has been drought-stricken for several years now, forcing them to till the land and grow maize and millet to survive.

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