19 August 2006


Sure, traditional treatments... such as going to the local witch doctor. Canada's Stephen Lewis sums it up succinctly.
Up to 800 people a day die of Aids in South Africa, Mr Lewis said. South Africa's Aids policy is "more worthy of a lunatic fringe than of a concerned and compassionate state," he said.
That sounds unbelievable, how can 300,000 people a year die in just one country? The short answer is... because it's government policy.
Earlier another keynote speaker said South Africa's health minister should resign because she had minimised the role of anti-retroviral drugs.

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said this week she wanted to give citizens choices, including traditional treatments like garlic, lemons and beetroots, instead of championing anti-retroviral drugs.
That seems to be the official government position. President Thabo Mbeki has stated that he believes AIDS is part of a conspiracy to murder blacks.
In 1999, he refused to allow distribution of AZT (a drug that inhibits HIV) to pregnant women and other South Africans suffering from AIDS. Instead, he publicly embraced the scientifically dissident position that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. The drug itself, Mbeki claimed, actually causes AIDS, and shortens rather than extends patients' lives.
It seems obvious this country's biggest problem isn't just a lack of funds, it's lack of reason and education.

As if a public health crisis isn't enough, Nelson Mandela's post-apartheid dream state also has a homicide rate that would stupefy Heinrich Himmler. Incredibly, it actually declined to around 18,000 homicides between March 2004 and April 2005.

In the same period Canada had less than 600 murders. Something for all you warm fuzzy lefties to consider the next time you're criticising Canada or America.

UPDATE: Here's a typically South African solution.
South Africa's AIDS crisis is fueling a second epidemic as obesity steadily rises, particularly among women who gain pounds to prove they don't have the disease.
More traditional medicine folly.
JAKARTA (AP): A 4-year-old girl suspected of having bird flu left the hospital Monday after family members decided against the advice of doctors to treat her at home with traditional medicine, officials said Monday.

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