South African President Mbeki Fires Deputy Health Minister Madlala-Routledge
South African President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday fired Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who has been "widely credited with waging an aggressive assault" on the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic this year, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, Madlala-Routledge led the Department of Health's efforts to curb HIV/AIDS for almost one year while Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was ill (LaFraniere, New York Times, 8/10). While serving as deputy health minister, Madlala-Routledge worked to develop a five-year plan that aims to reduce the number of new HIV cases in the country and to provide antiretroviral drug access to 80% of HIV-positive people by 2011, London's Guardian reports (Beresford, Guardian, 8/10). The government communications office on Saturday released the dismissal letter Mbeki sent to Madlala-Routledge. Mbeki in the letter said that she did not work as "part of a collective" (Jacobson, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 8/11). According to the Cape Argus/AllAfrica.com, Madlala-Routledge said she was fired for "just doing [her] job" (Cape Argus/AllAfrica.com, 8/10). The Treatment Action Campaign in a statement called the dismissal a "dreadful error of judgment that will harm public health care and especially the response to the HIV epidemic" (Jacobson, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 8/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.