HIV-AIDS in Indigenous African Peoples


Prejudice, oppression, and exclusion undermine indigenous peoples’ civil liberties as individuals and groups, jeopardize the survival of their cultures and customs, and prohibit them from truly engaging in decisions about their futures and modes of advancement. Africa’s approximately 960 million-strong population faces significant health issues due to a high prevalence of contagious and rising non-communicable illnesses (United Nations, 2008). Access to care is inconsistent across the continent, nations, and jurisdictions. Nationwide morbidity and death statistics can conceal discrepancies within governments (United Nations, 2008). The impoverished, excluded women and children, the disabled, and the disadvantaged among the indigenous population suffer the most.

Indigenous peoples frequently inhabit inaccessible and distant locations, as most are less knowledgeable, fewer in number, and culturally distinct from their more affluent contemporaries. They encounter significant barriers to health care access. Additionally, they face discrimination from healthcare practitioners and are viewed as backward. Therefore, this can be shown in the words of an African country’s leader, who stated, “How can a stone-age creature remain viable in the electronic age?” (United Nations, 2008, p.13). Africans continue to face institutional stigmatization from influence and power.

They remain over-represented among the underprivileged, undereducated, and downtrodden. Moreover, Africa’s indigenous societies are displaced by conflicts and environmental catastrophes. For example, in Congo, others are used as weapons of rape and sexual embarrassment to cleanse and demoralize indigenous people ethnically (United Nations, 2008). In Kenya, medical institutions are frequently concentrated in urban areas, with no portable treatment centers to serve nomadic herders and populations in remote northern and semi-arid territories with scant transportation (United Nations, 2008). Access to current care facilities is also prohibitively expensive in Kenya, frequently out of reach of many marginalized tribes, which may lack the financial resources to travel long distances to obtain certain prescription pharmaceuticals that are inaccessible in government hospitals. Due to land loss, deprivation, cultural collapse, and extreme poverty, the San are Namibia’s only racial minority whose well-being has deteriorated since sovereignty (United Nations, 2008).

Summary of Key Measures on Impacts of HIV/AIDS on the Health and Wellbeing of Africa’s Indigenous People

Implementing Culturally Competent Healthcare

Apart from a lack of access to high-quality health care, indigenous peoples in Africa frequently complain about the unfriendliness of available treatments. Often, health professionals regard them with contempt as traditional and primitive individuals (United Nations, 2008). Indigenous peoples also face linguistic problems, and as a result, many seek medical attention only when their ailments have progressed significantly. As indicated earlier, cultural sensitivity is critical when utilizing accessible health treatments. Additionally, it is crucial to consider indigenous groups’ traditional wisdom, passed down through countless generations. In South Africa, United Nations (2008) discovered that expectant women in rural communities avoided health centers. They chose to be treated by traditional practitioners to safeguard their unborn babies from damage.

Advancement in Healthcare Delivery

African countries are implementing ideas such as maternity cottages in distant places. These facilities are located within the medical property and urge pregnant women to come and stay there as their conceptions progress. For instance, one such shelter can be found in Garissa, Kenya’s northeastern region (United Nations, 2008). Another novel approach to service delivery is tuberculosis (TB) Manyatta’s idea to help those living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Tonelli, a Catholic nun, serving in a rural location of North-Eastern Kenya in 1976, invented this (United Nations, 2008). The pastoralists who lived there had a high rate of TB treatment failure (United Nations, 2008). As a result, she persuaded them to build modest houses adjacent to the health institution. The patient may receive experimental therapy for four months while accompanied by a family member (United Nations, 2008). Due to the effectiveness of this strategy, TB Manyattas were established in remote places for nomadic herders.

The Historical, Social, and Other Determinants of Health

The economic, social, and ecological factors that influence patient outcomes are not a result of current circumstances; they are a component of a historical spectrum. Historical cases such as wars, commerce, philosophical revolutions, and forced displacement can impact a demographic’s long-term well-being. Almost every medical issue has a prevalence differential between indigenous and non-indigenous people worldwide, ranging from contagious infections such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB to cardiovascular events, hypertension, cancer, and breathing problems (United Nations, 2009). Contamination and degradation of the environment are frequently the direct consequence of indigenous peoples’ group identity abuses and the persistence of colonial inclinations to plunder marginalized individuals’ wealth and property.

Toxicants from mines, oil and gas extraction, global warming, and resource scarcity hurt the health of indigenous communities. Violence against indigenous women, particularly violence directed at communal or sexual encounters, has a detrimental effect on women’s abilities or capacity to safeguard themselves and their desire for safeguards connected to these interactions (United Nations, 2009). Sexual victimization places indigenous women at risk of HIV, while the repercussions of victimization may further erode females’ opportunity to intervene fully in their communities and societies and, therefore, their ability to access HIV prevention options. Women exposed to HIV due to a violent sexual relationship necessitate a mixture of biopsychosocial approaches. However, indigenous Africa’s culture possesses dangerous levels of conflict against women demanding systemic involvement or efforts to address the risk factors that contribute to the continuance of violence against women.

Public Health Actions

Indigenous peoples frequently reside in regional and underserved places with limited or no healthcare coverage. Simultaneously, employees cannot converse in an indigenous dialect where treatment centers exist, adding an extra obstacle. This issue could be addressed by educating health personnel from indigenous civilizations (United Nations, 2008). Simultaneously, many of these populations lack access to quality education, making it more challenging to screen applicants for clinical instruction programs (United Nations, 2008). A viable approach is to promote learning and nondiscrimination to encourage talented indigenous kids to enroll in bridging modules to enter training centers.

Another method is to increase the number of rural learning institutions and provide tuition assistance to indigenous students. Increased rural student enrollment promotes favorable rural learning experiences in medical school (United Nations, 2008). Additionally, rural residency vocational training courses will boost the number of graduating practitioners interested in, knowledgeable, and capable of practicing in rural areas. To hire and retain clinicians in rural practice, it is necessary to consider the surroundings, health system, budgetary restraints, and other considerations (United Nations, 2008). States must integrate diverse health networks to have the best methodologies in offering healthcare access to excluded people. According to the World Health Organization, everyone has the right to health.

A Critical Review of how the Public Health Actions Align with Principles of Effective Public Health Practice

When effectively engaged, dedication as a public health practice results in the guidance and expertise necessary to organize, execute and maintain general health measures, including the education of health staff. Change is frequently contentious, and the institutions that administer public health initiatives, typically led by health authorities, may have less control over budget and planning purposes than other state and activist groups. Additionally, partners in medical health operations can enhance available time and material resources and provide support for and conduct vital operations regarding the training of healthcare workers.

Assisting divergent parties in agreeing on and pursuing a shared agenda can result in successful long-term collaborations that transcend beyond a single topic. Establishing and maintaining effective partnerships across departments at different administrative levels can be challenging. Sharing responsibilities, for instance, between state and municipal medical institutions can be politically controversial and complicated (Fleming & Parker, 2020). Accepting joint effort and shared responsibilities, expressing a shared vision and mission to accomplish common goals, and remaining focused can help keep government and civil society collaborators synchronized and avoid turf battles and resource contestability.


Finally, successful engagement with indigenous people can result in behavior modification. Still, it can also result in enhanced political participation and program success by including a wide variety of social movement groups and adding to a shift in attitudes toward an issue. With the development of the Internet, social media, and other telecommunication, more data is provided than ever before from various sources, albeit some are erroneous or extremely dangerous (Fleming & Parker, 2020). Interactive discussions are facilitated by emerging media systems and approaches, which enable public healthcare practitioners to engage in discourse with members of impacted communities (Fleming & Parker, 2020). With the proliferation of communication systems and perspectives, public health messages risk being swamped out unless they are prompt, well-articulated, well-performed, and sustained to accomplish specific goals.


Fleming, M. L., & Parker, E. (2020). Health promotion: Principles and practice in the Australian context. Routledge.

United Nations (2008). State of the world’s indigenous peoples: Indigenous peoples’ access to health services. Economic and Social Affairs, 1, 1-200.

United Nations (2009). State of the world’s indigenous peoples. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1(13), 1-250.

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