C O M M U N I T Y V I E W S
CONTINUUM vol 5, no 2
LONDON’S TIMID AFRICANS
by Winifred Mwebe
I have lived in this country England for ten years. I have never seen or heard of any Ugandan young or old dying of any illness
other than so-called HIV-related illnesses in this country or even back home in Uganda. Why?
Whenever you ask what happened (when someone dies) theanswer is, “What else?”! I think that shows how ignorant our
community is about these controversial issues. Ignorance kills. It has proved to be one of the major killers of all time in our community and around the world. This will not stop unless we educate our people. And education is never widespread when there is big money and politics involved.
While pharmaceutical companies are making a lot of money, many lives are being lost and others ruined. I think it is high time those who are classed as HIV-high-risk come together and examine that label that is sending them to early graves. Something has to be done and it is up to the “HIV-high-risk” groups themselves to take an active role. No-one will do it for you, no-one will help you do it unless you empower yourself and say no to the big-money-making liars. I am not an expert and therefore many of you might not take me seriously but there are things we have to realise. Experts try hard to tell us what to do and how to live our lives, but having a tablet for everything is not the answer. We have our natural
common sense. One cannot fight nature, and this includes how the body works naturally.
Good doctors know that people have brains and try to give their patients enough support to be able to use their common sense with the help of their doctor’s medical knowledge.
The so-called HIV-high-risk groups refer to gay people, IV drug using people, people from sub-Saharan Africa, people with haemophilia. What is difficult to understand is why no-one ever gives a clear definition of the criteria used in determining these people as “high risk”. How on earth will this go on? How did the HIV/AIDS industry come up with this kind of classification? As far as I’m concerned malaria is malaria and syphilis is syphilis and soforth. The “HIV test” changes every other day, the life expectancy of its sufferers differing all the time. Yet we all know there is no “cure” offered apart from the toxic drugs that can be fatal. Their sickening side-effects make “HIV/AIDS” patients worse with new problems such as nausea, sickness, liver failure, bone marrow toxicity, severe reduction of red and white blood cells, kidney failure etc. and people still take them apparently to “postpone the onset of AIDS symptoms”! Is it not abusive for doctors to encourage their patients to take these kinds of medications? No! Itis not! Because being HIV-diagnosed definitely leaves the doctor
with the power to conclude that you will suffer from AIDS and die anyway…
I have seen many doctors complain that African men and women do not take their medications properly; they “become resistant” causing them to die quickly! Easy to say, and it suits very well with HIV/AIDS scientific practice. Ironically many Africans are unaware of the side-effects, and because of the language and cultural differences, and the advancement in new technology, they are not familiar enough to ask questions. Many Africans stillbelieve the white race is superior so they (whites) do not make mistakes. I wish they (my fellow black Africans) acknowledgedhow horribly things can go wrong. Such as the public example of a recent scandal involving a London Health Authority and cancer tests.
My wish is to see more and more Africans become assertive and avoid dying of passiveness. In this case passivity kills. The slogan of ‘confidentiality’ in relation to HIV/AIDS seems a great industry of its own. This causes more harm than good in those diagnosed HIV positive. It means the diagnosed person cannot trust anyone but his/her doctor and other ‘service providers’. The treatment at the hands of the service providers can sometimes be more cruel than the HIV-positive status itself. Questions upon questions planning one’s death alone with strangers can be very haunting and extremely frightening. The service providers continue to plan deaths one after another leaving the patient with little choice but to believe that no-one else has any knowledge to offer. By the time most of them remember to call upon their loved one or closest
relatives it is often too late.
African families never talk to strangers about their personalproblems. They are brought up to tell doctors the type of discomfort they feel, but not their private lifestyle: arriving in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, every landlord/lady happy to take advantage of them for their housing benefit payments; living in horrendous situations: houses damp with no central heating, uncleaned surroundings, no ventilation and no hoovering facilities. Self-evidently people living in such a situation are prone to illhealth. In search of a better life, they end up working in the poorest conditions while being exploited by their employers. Some of these African people do not even know that a work-place can be hazardous. They have little or no knowledge of allergies. They start saying that white people have very awkward illnesses without realising they are next in line. Things like pneumonia, influenzaand pollution-related illnesses are rarely heard of in the tropics. Africans naturally do not expect to be affected by these. There is no information available to enlighten them about the different environment and its problems.
Most doctors interpret symptoms they see any way they choose; this has created some of the serious problems within the anglo-African community. The inability of most Africans to tell their doctors what they actually do, eat and are exposed to, leaves them in a deeply vulnerable situation. Come on, wake up and get a life!
London’s timid Africans