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December 16, 2009

South Africa’s Controversial Ex-Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Dies at 69

South Africa’s former Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, MD, died from complications related to a 2007 liver transplant, BBC News reports. She was 69.

Dubbed “Dr. Beetroot” by her critics, Tshabalala was known for advocating against antiretroviral therapy—claiming the drugs were overpriced and toxic—and instead encouraging HIV-positive people in South Africa to manage HIV by integrating olive oil, lemon, beetroot and African potatoes into their diets.

Her views on HIV treatment were consistent with South Africa’s former government administration under Thabo Mbeki, who resigned last year. A 2008 study accused Mbeki of causing about 300,000 deaths by delaying treatments to people living with HIV. Tshabalala-Msimang was removed from her post when Mbeki left office.

Current President Jacob Zuma has changed South Africa’s denialist HIV policy and plans to make treatment widely available to HIV-positive pregnant women and children.

Search: South Africa, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma


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