Wednesday, December 16, 2009


One of the researchers at the centre of the storm over whether medical incompetence in Swaziland led to children becoming infected with HIV has called for an investigation in into how Swazi children became HIV-positive even though their mothers were negative.

It was suggested children may have been infected by dirty needles.

When the news of the research broke the Swazi Government and the Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA).immediately condemned it and dismissed its findings. The nurses even went so far as to call the researchers ‘racist’.

Now, Devon Brewer, one of the researchers, in a letter to the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, has called for an investigation into ‘the possibility of blood-borne HIV transmission in both children and adults in Swaziland’.

He added, ‘To instill both public and scientific confidence, these investigations must be rigorous, comprehensive, transparent, and independent of individuals and organisations that have denied the potential importance of blood-borne HIV transmission in Africa. Investigations should also be designed to identify problems and correct them and not to assign blame or prosecute.

‘It is not sufficient to claim that healthcare is mostly safe. Healthcare providers must demonstrate that healthcare is always safe, patients must insist that it is so and governments must ensure that it is. In the meantime, the public must be educated about the full spectrum of risks of blood-borne HIV transmission and how to avoid them.’

To read the full letter click here.

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