South African Province Offers Free Antiretrovirals
The South African province of Western Cape has broken ranks with central government policy and is now distributing free antiretrovirals to pregnant women and rape victims, BBC News reports. The Western Cape is the only province in South Africa not controlled by the African National Congress, which has said that the efficacy of antiretrovirals has not been proven and the government cannot afford to distribute them throughout the country. The international group Doctors Without Borders is helping the Western Cape run their distribution program. Eric Goemaere, one of the organization's doctors, said, "We have set up those clinics inside the public day hospitals to give first those people hope and human dignity and the right to be attended to even if they are HIV-positive." With "local government elections approach[ing]," the Democratic Alliance party -- which runs the Western Cape -- has said that it will expand the free distribution program to any other areas in which it wins. Nick Koornhof, the Western Cape's health minister, said, "There's no [way] that politicians in South Africa can avoid this issue -- it's just normal -- so the voters have to make a choice and say who they want to run local government" (Standley, BBC News, 11/9). To view a video of this report from Jane Standley of BBC News, enter http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1010000/video/_101 4793_azt07_standley_vi.ram into your Web browser. Note: You must have RealPlayer to view the video.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.