Was Mbeki an AIDS denialist?
Does that matter?
Does it not matter that he did not pay proper attention and afford proper stress to a virus when it multiplied into pandemic levels within his country of rule?
Every single day that he allowed his top minister of Health to confuse South African people through her opposing and confrontational HIV messages, we became infected, suffered from illness, and some of us died.
Every day that he did not shout that every single pregnant woman visiting a public health site MUST be tested for the HI virus, let alone medical action be taken, children were born with HIV, women died, and families were at a loss on how to react.
Even if we allow him today’s excuses of “questioning ARVs so as to adopt a more cautious and sensible antiretroviral roll-out”, how can we forget that it was our highest court, the Constitutional Court, that FORCED him and his personnel to make ARVS available to pregnant women at public health facilities. Not that he finally conceeded they are the best of a worst situation.
Where was his humanity for his people throughout those several years?
Nicoli Nattrass makes good points in his short article – Now in fiction: the president on AIDS
“If during the Mbeki presidency South Africa had rolled out ARVs for pregnant women with HIV and for treating those sick with Aids at the same rate as happened in the Western Cape, then at least 170 000 HIV infections could have been prevented and more than 340 000 deaths averted”.
Something to think on as we watch Mbeki again defend one women against hundreds of stillborn babies, who have gone unborn as a result of ADMINISTRATIVE, not medical, problems.
Should Mbeki not be shouting for even just this one site, Frere Hospital, in our nation to be sorted out as soon as is nationally possible.
His and her excuse?... “The facts communicate the conclusion that neonatal mortality at Frere Hospital is not significantly different from the national incidence of such mortality,"
When was it that our government was allowed such a nonchalant view about any neonatal death?
Or the trauma that each family, whose child that died prematurely, now endures?