South Africa Continues to Resist Anti-AIDs Efforts

Apr 01, 2002

Capetown-In March, ruling on a case initiated by the Treatment Action Campaign, Save Our Babies, and the Children's Rights Centre, Judge Chris Botha ordered the South African government to provide the anti-retroviral nevirapine to all HIV-positive pregnant women.

Although Botha gave the government the right to appeal his decision, he mandated that the medicines be kept available while any appeal is pending. Considering it unlikely that his decision would be reversed, he said it would save some lives even if it was overturned on appeal.

Health ministry spokesman Sibani Mngadi said the government would consider whether to appeal after the African National Congress discussed it at a national executive meeting. The ANC chastised former US president Jimmy Carter for telling the South African government that it could learn much from the AIDS policies of African countries that were smaller and poorer than its own. An ANC spokesman accused Carter of urging the country to treat its people as guinea pigs to further the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.