Nevirapin für Südafrika - Niederlage für Mbeki

Nevirapin soll die Mutter-Kind-übertragung von HIV verhindern. Von den sog. "AIDS-Aktivisten" vehement gefordert, hat ein südafrikanisches Gericht nun die Regierung unter Thabo Mbeki dazu verurteilt, Nevirapin allen Müttern und Neugeborenen zur Verfügung zu stellen. Im folgenden einige englischsprachige Artikel mit kurzer deutscher Erläuterung dazu:

Vorausgegangen waren verschiedene Warnungen von AIDS-"Dissidenten" vor dem Gebrauch von Nevirapin, einer der profilitiersten davon ist sicherlich Dr. Roberto Giraldo, der im Oktober den Text Scientific Data Against The Use Of Nevirapine verfaßt hatte. Offenbar aber ohne Erfolg.

Denn Anfang Dezember entschied das Gericht gegen Mbeki, dazu folgende Meldung:

South African activists win court case on AIDS drug

SOUTH AFRICA: South African activists won an important court ruling yesterday in their campaign to force a reluctant government to help HIV-positive pregnant women save their babies from the virus.

From Steven Swindells, in Johannesburg

In the Pretoria High Court, Judge Chris Botha ruled that the government was obliged to provide the AIDS drug nevirapine to pregnant women. The government is expected to appeal the 70-page ruling before the Supreme Court.

The AIDS activist group Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), backed by doctors, launched the court action arguing that the government had a duty to offer nevirapine under the constitutional right to health treatment.

"This is a very important victory, a great step forward. The judge granted everything that the TAC sought. He ordered that nevirapine be made available at health facilities across the country," the TAC national secretary, Mr Mark Heywood, said.

TAC activists and supporters were jubilant at the judgment. No health ministry officials were available for immediate comment and no government officials were present at the court.

Under the ruling, the health department has to return to court by March 31st to show how it will roll out the national nevirapine programme.

The government has refused to implement such a scheme at public hospitals and clinics, citing cost and safety concerns surrounding the drug.

Between 70,000 and 100,000 babies are born HIV-positive yearly in South Africa, which has more people living with HIV-AIDS than any other country in the world. One in nine South Africans is estimated to be HIV-positive.

A dose of nevirapine - a tablet given to the mother during labour and a teaspoon of syrup to the baby within the first 72 hours after birth - can cut infection rates by up to 50 per cent.

The government's approach to the epidemic has been mired in controversy since President Thabo Mbeki questioned the causal link between HIV and AIDS and said life-prolonging retrovirals were as toxic as the condition they were meant to treat.

Germany's Böhringer Ingelheim, which makes nevirapine, has offered the drug free to the government for five years.

"The offer is still there. If the government decides to move forward we would be happy to supply the product," Mr Kevin McKenna, Böhringer Ingelheim's managing director in South Africa, said. - (Reuters)

Anita Allen, südafrikanische "Dissidentin", schrieb daraufhin folgenden Kommentar an ihre Freunde. Sie räumt die Niederlage ein, zweifelt aber nicht daran, daß die "AIDS Road Show" trotz allem in Südafrika ihr Ende finden werde.

Dear All,

The South African government lost the case brought by Treatment Action Campaign and was ordered yesterday (14 Dec) in the Pretoria High Court by Judge Chris Botha to make nevirapine available in the public health system to pregnant woman and newborns to halt MTCT. He also ordered that it supply the court details of a national programme to role out antiretroviral treatments in the PHS by March.

At present TAC and it's accolyte TACIES are "jumping for joy" in front of adoring camera's, TV producers, radio celebs, reporters and the like.

I can't begin to describe how it angers me. I predicted this would happen. I tried to alert everyone to the ambush in which the highest government officials Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba and the director of HIV/AIDS DR Nono Simelela in founding affidavits said nevirapine was safe. It was cost, infrastructure and human resources the state lacked, they said under oath. No where did they even mention the Presidential Aids Advisory Panel process, or it's report of which Simelela was a draftee. The opposition were certainly not going to bring it up, were they, and the Minister of Health was the respondent but she didn't swear to anything least of all in an affidavit. So you-all never made it to the statuate books here. But I want you all to know I tried. I told everyone I could think of to please check that the State's Advocate was FULLY briefed. Nothing happened, but everyone was "confidant".

I cried on 26 November when the judge reserved judgement but remarked that he could not see any reason why antiretrovirals shouldn't be rolled out immediately. Happily, I am long since recovered from my tears and can tell you that behind the scenes, influential ANC friends have been briefed and plans are under way to lodge an appeal. Hopefully, a constitutional challenge that the government's HIV/AIDS policy is irrational in light of current updated information, and in light of this such actions as HIV tests to diagnose "HIV infection" on which antiretroviral treatments are based constitute rights violations.

From one who has often experienced the phenomena of African time, let me assure you the long delay over giving the go-ahead to experiments proposed by dissident scientists on the panel sets new standards for how slowly time passes in paradise. The court case appeal will be based on part on a stay of any further action until the experiments have been completed. This and other things which I am not at liberty to discuss or will take too many words to describe make me certain the HIV/AIDS roadshow will be ended here in South Africa. Understandably I am now a bit insecure about putting a time on it. But I am doing everthing I can to see that South Africa will speak with one voice on HIV/AIDS by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio +10) in Aug/Sept 2002 here in Johannesburg within walking distance of my home.

Season's greetings to you-all. May 2002 be all it could possibly be for us all!


Gang vor das Verfassungsgericht

Wie heute, 19.12.2001, bekannt wird, will die südafrikanische Regierung vor das Verfassungsgericht gehen! Der folgende Artikel bezieht sich auf entsprechende Äußerungen der Gesundheitsministerin Tshabalala-Msimang. Die "AIDSies" heulen erwartungsgemäß auf. Wie sie weiter sagt, will Südafrika die Mutter-Kind-Infektion auch ohne Nevirapin verhindern...

South Africa government to appeal AIDS ruling

By Steven Swindells

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 19 (Reuters) - South Africa's government said on Wednesday it would appeal a high court ruling that HIV-positive pregnant women are entitled to a drug found to reduce a newborn's risk of contracting the virus.

"We have instructed our legal counsel to appeal the judgment to the Constitutional Court on this matter," Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said in a statement.

The plan to appeal provoked an outcry from AIDS activists and child health workers, who argue that President Thabo Mbeki's government has acted too slowly to fight mother-to-child transmission of HIV, which causes AIDS.

"This will result in further unnecessary infections," AIDS activist group Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) spokesman Nathan Geffen told Reuters.

The South African Council of Churches urged the government to get the drug where it was needed and the white-led opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) called the government's move madness.

"It equals a death sentence for thousands of babies that could otherwise be saved...Once again, they are fiddling while Rome burns," DA leader Tony Leon said.

The Pretoria High Court ruled on Friday that the government had a constitutional duty to expand access to the anti-retroviral drug nevirapine, which has been shown to cut mother-to-child infection rates by up to 50 percent.

The TAC had launched the court action, arguing that the government had a duty to offer nevirapine. It said it was confident it would win the appeal, as fundamental rights were being denied under current government AIDS policy.

Between 70,000 and 100,000 babies are born HIV-positive every year in South Africa, which has more people living with HIV-AIDS than any other country. Five million of South Africa's 45 million people, or one in nine, are estimated to be living with HIV.

As many as one in three mothers at some rural antenatal clinics are infected with HIV, according to government figures.


The judge had ordered the health department to return to court by March 31 to show how it would offer a national nevirapine programme, which the government has refused to do because of cost and safety concerns.

The South African government said the high court ruling had consequences for the role of the executive and the judiciary under the constitution's separation of powers.

"We came to the conclusion that this judgment could have far-reaching implications in defining our constitutional democracy and in shaping the state's responsibility for the delivery of social services," Tshabalala-Msimang said.

The government said it would develop a programme centred on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV-AIDS rather than providing nevirapine.

There are side effects from nevirapine, but medical experts say they are limited and the drug is a life-saver. Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim, which makes nevirapine, has offered to provide the drug free to South Africa for five years.

The government's approach and commitment to curbing the pandemic has been widely criticised, especially since Mbeki has questioned widely held findings about HIV, including whether it causes AIDS.

Mbeki has said anti-retrovirals do as much harm as the condition they are meant to treat and he has appointed so-called "AIDS dissidents," who believe AIDS is caused by recreational drug use, to his advisory panel on the disease.

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