Manto embarrasses the country yet again
Our dear health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, has yet again made south africa the laughing stock of an international aids conference. She and her cronies set up a stall at the Toronto conference, proudly displaying garlic, lemons, african potatoes, ginger and beetroot as part of the ‘khomanani’ government policy on AIDS prevention and treatment in south africa. Not so much as a single bottle of ARVs was to be seen, until pointed questions from journalists eventually led to a couple of bottles being added to the stand.
She also tried to defend the government’s stance on the use of african traditional medicine:
We have a constitution which says people have choices to make. If people choose to use traditional medicine … why not give them those choices?
Why not? Because it doesn’t work! You may as well say that people have a constitutional right to commit suicide, and other people shouldn’t try to stop them because it’s their choice. And even worse than advocating a treatment that does nothing, she is actually advocating a treatment that does harm – there is evidence from studies conducted at the University of Stellenbosch that the african potato causes severe bone marrow suppression in HIV patients!
Leave it to the tireless Treatment Action Campaign to give her display the respect it deserves – they demonstrated in front of the stand, attempted to confiscate the displayed items, and caused a generally disruptive commotion. Good for them.
By the way, for any non-south africans reading this, the package in the picture (in the business day article linked to above) marked ‘ProNutro’ is not some medical or nutritional product developed for HIV sufferers, it’s a god damn cereal. A cereal. I used to eat it every day before going to school. I like it with hot milk so that it’s more like a porridge but some people prefer it with cold milk. It comes in regular, banana, chocolate and strawberry. It’s not a treatment for HIV! It’s about as nutritious as coco pops!