The womb as target: Linking Procreative Sex with Premature Death and Epidemics in Modern Day Ghana

  • H Lauer


This brief survey of policy and practices over the last five decades will help to expose how it is that gross oversimplifications about Africans, purveyed at the highest levels of international discourse, inhibit the efficacy of Ghana's current public policy and implementation of measures to fight epidemic disease and early mortality. Putting current HIV/AIDS policy of deterrence in an historical context illuminates how the national response to contagious diseases and premature mortality is limited when regarded chiefly as the direct effect of socio-sexual dysfunction. The evidence assembled here reveal that attention to women's lack of social empowerment and the purported irrationality of African social norms deflects attention from key facts about the pathogenic and economic conditions responsible for chronic illness and premature death in Ghana. The global health policy presupposes that AIDS requires primarily behavior modification of individuals and access to imported pharmaceuticals, and thereby seriously curtails more effective treatment and prevention strategies including a multi-sectoral modification of sanitation infrastructure, and improved urban living conditions. More judicious distribution of primary health care facilities, improvements in subsistence agriculture, and adequate nutritive caloric intake for pregnant mothers and school children, are important considerations in the ethics of AIDS care and prevention.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS prevention, reproductive health, public and community health policy, fertility studies, racism.

Studies in Gender and Development in Africa Vol. 1 (1) 2007: pp. 1-20

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eISSN: 0855-9449