Twin Epidemics-One Plant, the Other Human-Ravage Uganda

by Larry Malone

Ugandans are hard-working people, but most are extremely poor because the economy has been hard-hit by an epidemic plant disease which has crippled production of coffee—one of the country’s principal income crops, along with bananas and tea.

But the ravages of a different disease— HIV/AIDS—has created much greater havoc for Ugandans. Almost every family in Uganda has been affected! Most children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents are doing what they can. Most of the time they are stretched beyond measure. In many cases children are raising children!

These grisly figures may help us to see the dimensions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this stricken nation:

• Every 10th adult is HIV positive.

• ‑There are 9 million children in Uganda, and they make up 40% of the population.

• ‑Of these children, 10% are HIV-positive.

• 1.7 million have died from AIDS.

• ‑There are 2.3 million orphans today in Uganda.

Uganda is one of several African nations whose populations are being decimated by this dread disease. World-wide, more than 40 million people are infected by HIV, and thousands die daily.

President George W. Bush has commended Uganda as a model for AIDS treatment, noting the success of its triple emphasis on abstinence, marital fidelity, and the use of condoms. More than 30 million people in Africa live with AIDS, but in Uganda the infection rate has fallen sharply—from 30% to 5% since the early 1990s.

Despite this success, the tragic aftermath remains. AMG International is providing sponsorship to nearly 400 children in Uganda but this does not even scratch the surface of the need. For example, in Bugongi, a rural village about 250 miles southwest of Kampala, there are more than 1,200 students—most of whom need a helping hand. AMG is helping with scholastic school fees, providing health care, the noon meal, and extra food for the family, as funds are available.

AMG has just dedicated a new child development center in this village, which still does not have public water or electricity. AMG’s national director, Rueben Musiime, grew up in Bugongi.

There are many, many children in Uganda waiting to be told a sponsor has been found to help them. Would you consider sponsoring one of these helpless children at $22.00 a month? Your sponsorship will offer hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.

Larry Malone is manager of International Ministries for AMG<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

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