June 19, 2007:
One reason so many nations are
reluctant to send peacekeepers to Africa
is because of the large number of people in those areas that have AIDS. This
has been known for some time, but nations that have sent in peacekeepers in the
past few years have found that many of their troops come back with AIDS. This
is in spite of warning to the troops, and ample supplies of condoms. But it's
not just AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is awash with tropical diseases, and largely
devoid of effective public health efforts to deal with the problem. The war
zones, where the peacekeepers are sent, tend to be the most disease ridden.
Even though the UN brings in medical services for the peacekeepers, it's not
enough to prevent many of the troops coming down with something. When these
peacekeepers go home, they often bring intractable diseases with them. Word
gets around, and that's one reason recruiting peacekeepers for Africa has
become such an impossible chore.