And haven’t I missed her! It has been a long tough couple of weeks with logic and forward-movement ruling over the good old world of ‘HIV and AIDS Ravaging SA’. But now our dear Minister Manto is healthy again, and not only is she up and running, but she is talking to the media. Excellent!
Well less the media than she is leaving pronouncements on the ANC Today website. Still it is public, and so there is room for misinterpretation, as well as perfect interpretation, (which made me slightly tense at her arrogance and inability to ever admit fault!!).
I don’t know who they allowed near her during her weeks in a private room in a public hospital or during her home bed rest but obviously it was someone fairly intelligent. For once, the media are reporting that my dear Manto has been speaking some sense on the HIV and AIDS topic, although still in her biased victimised tone:
The government and the ANC had faced severe attacks in their efforts to ensure that the global response to HIV and Aids took into consideration the peculiar challenges facing the African continent.
(Half of this holds true – the part that there are unique challenges facing the African continent/ developing countries when responding to the AIDS epidemic. Our government’s efforts have been completely misguided on many fronts, but have tried to use the uniqueness as an excuse for punting dangerous ideas and treatments.)
"We were all expected to follow the route taken by developed countries of the North in responding to HIV and Aids. (Have we been expected to follow their route??? No. We’ve been expected to follow logical scientifically researched routes.) For them, the challenge of HIV and Aids has been perceived as a problem affecting marginalised communities such as immigrants, men who have sex with men and injecting drug users," she said.
With more resources at their disposal and more sophisticated social and health systems, antiretroviral drugs -- which were introduced into the market at a very high price -- became the main element of the response of the developed world.
In under-developed Africa on the other hand, HIV and Aids was affecting the general population. The continent had very weak health and social systems and limited resources to meet the needs of its populations.
They faced social challenges including unemployment and lack of access to basic services, such as water, sanitation, education and housing. Even before HIV infection, their health was already compromised by poor nutrition and a lack of access to basic health services.
Yes, yes, good. Treating HIV and AIDS in the developing world is different to treating it in a first world where infrastructure is already in place and working well. One would think then putting infrastructure in place as soon as possible in SA would be a priority. One can hope then that Manto’s utterances here could prompt this. Ha! Let’s rather blame the West and seek the easy options – African potatoes and unchecked traditional medicines as being THE ONLY options.
So, of course, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, she still had some complete nonsense to sprout….
Nutrition is critical in prolonging progression from HIV infection to development of AIDS defining conditions. It is also critical in enhancing the effectiveness of medical treatment. (Yes. Good. Good. Keep Going.) Unfortunately, others chose to interpret this simple and straight-forward statement as suggesting that nutrition might be an alternative to treatment. It is not.
Aaah, No. No. My dear lady, while I realise you are reaching an age where you are becoming forgetful, let me assure you that you have been very vocal in your ideas of nutrition being an alternative to scientifically tried & tested medicines.
All HIV and AIDS fighters have always been well aware and put forward the idea that nutrition is an important support for a person with HIV or AIDS, so to improve his/her health & live longer. You were not the only person championing such an idea. You were the one denying ARVs and so denying your electorate life-saving treatments.
A group of fellow South Africans had teamed up with their partners at the occasion of the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada to portray our government as uncaring and indifferent to the plight of its own electorate - the very people who reaffirmed their confidence in the ANC by giving it a close to 70% majority in the general elections two years ago.
Please, my dear ANC and government, just stop allowing this woman to speak on this subject. She has dug herself into a hole. Leave her there to ponder silently on this subject or hopefully on the subject of smoking. Keep up the good work of allowing recent AIDS fighting developments to run their course and hopefully lead to all the people who are desperate for treatment and information being able to access it
The TAC are still calling for Tshabalala-Msimang to be fired.
In other news: Today UNAIDS releases their annual Epidemic Updates for the world. Look out for it. Always fascinating. UPDATE: It seems there is some confusion over this this year, and that the report might only be released on December 1st. I guess we'll know by midnight tonight.