March 27, 2002

Government to fight latest Aids ruling

The government will appeal the latest Pretoria High Court judgement ordering them to provide nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said on Wednesday, March 27.

She made the announcement at the national traditional leaders forum on HIV/Aids in Johannesburg, saying the government intended to appeal the high court ruling in the Constitutional Court. Tshabalala-Msimang said she respected the court's ruling, but that she wanted to consider other legal options. She said a judge was not in a position to prescribe medicine: "It is us (the medical community) who can do so... I'm prepared to abide by the law but my conviction is that women of this country deserve the best," Tshabalala-Msimang said.

The government was currently dispensing the antiretroviral drug at 18 pilot sites country-wide. Aids drug proponents, including the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), this week won a court battle compelling the government to make the drug available at all public hospitals country-wide with the capacity to do so. (Mail & Guardian)

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