South Africa’s ANC Should Pressure Mbeki to Act on AIDS, Editorial States
"Rather than getting upset over a former American president's remarks, South Africa's leaders should get upset over what AIDS is doing to their country and their people. Then they should do something about it," a South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial states. The editorial refers to a recent visit by former President Jimmy Carter to South Africa, during which he "called on governments to fight AIDS more aggressively" and recommended that antiretroviral medications be made available in public hospitals. South Africa's African National Congress responded to the statements by calling Carter "arrogant" and saying that he is treating South Africans as "guinea pigs." The editorial notes that South African President Thabo Mbeki has "refused" to make the antiretroviral drug nevirapine available in public hospitals to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission and has questioned the causal link between HIV and AIDS. "The ruling ANC should put pressure on [Mbeki] to change his misguided AIDS views and policies" instead of criticizing Carter, the editorial states. Noting that South African trade unions and AIDS activists, as well as former South African President Nelson Mandela, have criticized the government's AIDS policies, the editorial states that the ANC is "showing its arrogance and ignorance" by refusing to respond to such criticism. "South Africa can hardly afford to be complacent about AIDS. ... Carter did all South Africans a favor when he criticized the country's leadership ... [but] it is a favor that some South African leaders are too blind to see," the editorial concludes (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 3/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.