Actor Danny Glover, Activists Write to Mbeki Urging Him to ‘Do More’ About HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Actor Danny Glover and the leaders of TransAfrica Forum and Africa Action on Monday sent a letter to South African President Thabo Mbeki urging him to "do more to tackle" his country's HIV/AIDS problem, according to the Star, a South African newspaper, the Associated Press reports. Glover, who founded Artists for a New South Africa, Rev. Wyatt Walker and Salih Booker of Africa Action and Bill Fletcher of TransAfrica Forum, all of whom supported Mbeki's African National Congress during the fight against apartheid, said in the letter that they are "alarmed about the unnecessary loss of life resulting from the South African government's stance on combating the HIV/AIDS crisis." They said that Mbeki's international supporters have the "impression" that he and his government "do not believe that HIV causes AIDS" and "are blocking needed medical efforts to address" the HIV/AIDS crisis. The letter challenges Mbeki to "represent yourself with a clear-cut and consistent acknowledgement of the catastrophic nature of [the HIV/AIDS] crisis" and to develop a "proactive policy to confront it." Mbeki spokesperson Bheki Khumalo confirmed receipt of the letter, saying that "while the authors' concerns were appreciated, they did not fully understand the government's anti-AIDS program, which was the most comprehensive in Africa." Khumalo added that the ANC was "doing all [it] can to deal with" HIV/AIDS (Associated Press, 4/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.