SHARE THIS/ By Jennifer Sempala
Swaziland has just 17,300 square kilometers of land (157th in the world), with an estimated population of 1,106,000. This is a moderate increase from the 2007 census, which found 1,018,000 residents in the country. There are about 68 people per square kilometer in Swaziland, which ranks 135th in the world.
There is only one city with a population over 100,000: Manzini, with an estimated 2005 population of 110,500. The next largest city, and only city over 10,000, is Mbabane with 76,000. Approximately 21% of the population lives in urban areas.
Swaziland faces several health issues, including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The country has a median age of 20.5 years with a life expectancy of just 31.88 years, the lowest documented life expectancy in the world and less than half the world average.
Despite its small population size, Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the world. 27.20% of the country’s population lives with the infection.
Most of the HIV infections in Swaziland are transmitted through unprotected sex, transactional sex, and sexual violence. Women are most affected by the epidemic with more than 31% reporting an HIV-positive status, compared to 20% in men.
The country has a substantial mobile population, and this mobility has also been identified as a key driver.
The epidemic is generalised, and affects all populations in society, although certain groups such as sex workers, adolescent girls and young women, and men who have sex with men are more affected than others.
High levels of gender violence against women, polygamy, and early marriages to older men contribute to the high rates of infection among women.
Women’s increased vulnerability to HIV stems from gender inequality within eSwatini’s society. Women are often subordinate to men and levels of men engaged in multi-concurrent partnerships are relatively high as is gender-based violence.
The less empowered women are, the harder it is to make progress against. HIV spread
You can not totally rule out the impact of the example shown by their leader.///////
King Mswati III is Africa’s last absolute monarch who rules Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, as its King. The 50-year-old is a polygamist and has married 14 wives. He has divorced three of them and has 24 children.His father had 70 wives.
He is traditionally mandated to pick a new wife every year from 40000 maiden virgins who partake in the traditional chastity rite held at the Ludzidzini Royal palace near Swaziland’s capital Mbabane.///////
There may be all the the necessary interventions, but sometimes cultural barriers become the biggest challenge to healthy attitudes.
Sometimes, it requires the intervention of strong women like Theresa Kachindamoto. She became the paramount chief in the central region of Malawi with informal authority over more than 900,000 people. She distinguished herself by her forceful action in dissolving child marriages and insisting on education for both girls and boys.
Kachindamoto ordered 50 of her sub-chiefs to sign an agreement ending child marriage in Dedza District. When a few male chiefs continued to approve the marriages, Kachindamoto suspended them until they annulled the unions. In addition to annulling the marriages (330 in June of 2015 alone!), this fierce chief sent the children back to school, often paying their school fees with her own money.
It takes the golden hearts of strong women to reverse some practices that make girls continuosly vulnerable./SHARE THIS/////////