Lack of Medical Resources to Diagnose, Treat AIDS Mentioned in ABC’s ‘Nightline’ Series ‘Heart of Darkness’
ABC News' "Nightline" began a five-part series, "Heart of Darkness," on Friday that examines the effects of civil war and genocide on life in Democratic Republic of Congo. The second segment in the series, airing tonight, focuses on the town of Shabunda, where nearly every female has been raped by rebel forces. Italian priest Father Jean Pierre, who has worked for several years to "pressure" outside organizations to bring aid to the women of Shabunda, described the "deplorable state" of Congolese women's health, as many villages lack access to a physician or an "efficient hospital" that can diagnose and treat diseases, such as AIDS, that may be a consequence of rape. Pierre said, "[W]e do not know what the consequences are inside their bodies, whether they got AIDS. We do not have the possibility of analysis. ... [I]n the hospital we lack everything. We even lack the products that are used to test for AIDS." Pierre added that he thinks the authorities are "afraid to know the truth" about how many in the population are HIV-positive. When asked by host Ted Koppel if there is a "great deal" of AIDS in Shabunda, Pierre responded, "As I said before we cannot assess it, but there is the TB. The TB is endemic in this region and it is at the basis of all the other diseases including AIDS. We do not have instruments to calculate an incidence of these diseases." Transcripts of the broadcasts, transcripts of conversations with people featured in the series, the executive producer's travel diary and information on international relief efforts are available online. Check local listings for tonight's showtime (ABCNews.com release, 9/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.