You’d think the deaths of tens of thousands of South Africans would have been a spur to action. Instead, said John Kane-Berman in the Johannesburg Business Day, it took "international ridicule" for the South African government to silence its murderously misguided health minister. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been in her post since 1999, all the while telling HIV-positive South Africans to "eat garlic and beetroot" rather than take the antiretroviral drugs that could save their lives. Is it any wonder that South Africa has made negative progress during her tenure, that AIDS sufferers continue to die needlessly early, and that new HIV cases continue to rise? Yet Parliament was indifferent to the mounting deaths. It acted only after this summer’s AIDS conference in Toronto, when U.N. officials publicly criticized South Africa and when dozens of the world’s top AIDS researchers called for Tshabalala-Msimang to be fired. After that humiliation, the minister was relieved of administering AIDS programs—although, shockingly, she retains her post. She should have been sacked years ago. Her leadership on AIDS policy has had "an unconscionable cost."
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