South African Government Must ‘Make Up For Lost Time’ in Developing Antiretroviral Program, New York Times Editorial Says
After "years of unconscionable obtuseness," the South African government must "race to make up for lost time" in rolling out a national antiretroviral drug program, "lest thousands more die needlessly," a New York Times editorial today says (New York Times, 8/18). The South African government on Aug. 8 called for the Ministry of Health to develop a national program to provide antiretroviral medications to residents with HIV/AIDS. The announcement came after a special meeting of the cabinet to consider a Joint Health and Treasury Task Team cost report on providing HIV/AIDS drugs to the public. According to the cabinet, "Policy and funding commitments made in the last two years leave South Africa well placed to offer a comprehensive package of prevention and care in the health sector" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/15). The decision follows "years of criticism" from domestic and international AIDS advocates, including the Treatment Action Campaign, "the world's largest and savviest anti-AIDS group." It is "no surprise" health Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang announced the possibility of delays in rolling out the program, because "her ministry has spent its time fighting treatment instead of preparing for it," for which she should have been "dismissed long ago," the editorial states (New York Times, 8/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.