You may recall hearing about South Africa’s health minister, Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang‘s (pictured) comments that insisted HIV could be stemmed through a proper diet, rather than drugs. Yeah, not the best thing to say in a country whose HIV infected population accounts for eight percent of the entire planet’s, but whatever…
Anyway, after dozens of complaints from the international community, the government has appointed a special committee to oversee the nation’s AIDS programs. The trimming of Tshabalala-Msimang’s power comes after months of outrage over South Africa’s handling of the AIDS crisis. During the International AIDS Conference in Toronto last month, special UN envoy to South Africa, Stephen Lewis, slammed Tshabalala-Msimang. He chided:
It is the only country in Africa … whose government is still obtuse, dilatory and negligent about rolling out treatment. It is the only country in Africa whose government continues to promote theories more worthy of a lunatic fringe than of a concerned and compassionate state.
Oh, snap! Let’s just hope this new committe actually proves effective. As an estimated 900 South Africans die of AIDS-related complications daily, time’s a luxury they can’t afford.