Public: AIDS, Malnutrition More Serious Than Malaria in Africa

by Joseph Carroll

Six in 10 say malaria a very serious problem in Africa

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush will host a summit at the White House today with officials from Africa and the United Nations, as well as medical experts and representatives from non-governmental organizations to examine different ways to combat malaria in Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Heath Organization report that malaria is one of the leading causes of death across the world, with new cases estimated between 300 to 500 million each year and reports of deaths at more than 1 million each year, mostly occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

A recent Gallup survey finds that roughly 6 in 10 Americans say malaria is a very serious problem in Africa right now, but they are much more likely to view HIV or AIDS and poor nutrition as very serious problems for that continent. When asked more broadly about the seriousness of malaria worldwide, significantly fewer Americans, only about 3 in 10, consider it a very serious problem, ranking it at the bottom of a list of global health conditions that includes HIV or AIDS, cancer, poor nutrition, and tuberculosis. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say malaria is a serious health problem in both Africa and around the world more generally.

Overall Results

One-half of Americans surveyed in the Dec. 8-10, 2006 poll were asked how serious a problem five different health conditions are in Africa, while the other half was asked how serious these conditions are around the world.

HIV or AIDS and poor nutrition are, by far, perceived as the most serious health conditions in Africa right now, of the five tested in the poll. Nearly all Americans, 96%, say that HIV or AIDS is a very serious problem in Africa, and 88% say poor nutrition is a very serious problem. A smaller percentage of Americans, but still a majority, say malaria (62%) and tuberculosis (53%) are serious problems facing that continent. Only 30% say cancer is a serious problem in Africa.

On a worldwide basis, at least 8 in 10 Americans say HIV or AIDS, cancer, and poor nutrition are very serious problems around the world right now. Americans perceive tuberculosis and malaria to be less serious problems, with only 31% saying tuberculosis and 28% saying malaria are very serious problems in the world.

The public is almost three times more likely to say cancer is a more serious problem around the world (87%) than it is in Africa (30%). Conversely, Americans perceive malaria (62% vs. 28%) and tuberculosis (53% vs. 31%) to be much more of a problem in Africa than in other parts of the world. Americans are equally likely to say AIDS and poor nutrition are serious problems in the world and in Africa.

Partisan Perceptions of Health Conditions in Africa, Around the World

Democrats (including independents who lean to the Republican Party) are more likely than Republicans (including Republican-leaning independents) to say malaria is a very serious problem in Africa. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats say malaria is a serious problem in Africa, compared with 54% of Republicans.

 

Percentage Saying Each Condition Is Very Serious in Africa, Results by Party Affiliation, Dec. 8-10, 2006

 

Republicans
(including "leaners")

Democrats
(including "leaners")

 

%

%

HIV/AIDS

96

97

Cancer

27

33

Tuberculosis

49

53

Malaria

54

67

Poor nutrition

88

89

Democrats also are more likely than Republicans to say tuberculosis (35% vs. 23%), poor nutrition (84% vs. 75%), and malaria (32% vs. 24%) are very serious problems around the world. The two party groups show essentially no variation in their views of the seriousness of HIV or AIDS and cancer on a worldwide basis.

 

Percentage Saying Each Condition Is Very Serious in the World, Results by Party Affiliation Dec. 8-10, 2006

 

Republicans
(including "leaners")

Democrats
(including "leaners")

 

%

%

HIV/AIDS

88

90

Cancer

86

89

Tuberculosis

23

35

Malaria

24

32

Poor nutrition

75

84

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 500 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 8-10, 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

31. For each of the following health conditions, please say whether you think it is a very serious problem in Africa, a somewhat serious problem, or not a serious problem? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

BASED ON 505 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A

 

2006 Dec 8-10 (sorted by
"very serious")

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not serious

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

HIV or AIDS

96

2

--

2

Poor nutrition

88

11

1

1

Malaria

62

26

3

8

Tuberculosis

53

30

5

13

Cancer

30

37

14

19

32. For each of the following health conditions, please say whether you think it is a very serious problem around the world, a somewhat serious problem, or not a serious problem? How about – [RANDOM ORDER]?

BASED ON 504 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B

 

2006 Dec 8-10 (sorted by
"very serious")

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not serious

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

HIV or AIDS

89

10

1

*

Cancer

87

11

1

--

Poor nutrition

80

18

1

1

Tuberculosis

31

48

17

3

Malaria

28

47

20

4

* = Less than 0.5%

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