Sunday, December 12, 2010

Swaziland and its problems

Swaziland is a small landlocked country bordering Mozambique to the west and South Africa to the north, east and south. Its economy is mainly centred around forestry, sugar cane and tourism. Its economy is heavily dependent on that of South Africa. Its currency, the emelangeni, is linked at parity to the rand. The HIV infection rate is about 25% in the general population and above 40% in pregnant women. Free treatment for this disease exists in theory but most are unwilling to be tested or unable to afford the bus fares. Then if they do get to a hospital, there are long waits for treatment by often apathetic staff. The risk of catching TB at hospital or of being infected by HIV or hepatitis due to reuse of syringes is a possibility. The drugs to treat HIV can cause nausea if not enough food is available so many stop taking their medication. Then they become ill.