More Must Be Done In South Africa’s AIDS Response, But Progress Should Be Celebrated

In a Project Syndicate opinion piece, Tochukwu Akunyili, a graduate student at the University of Erfurt’s Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, examines the AIDS response in South Africa. “Until recently, the government’s response to the epidemic, which threatened the country’s very lifeblood, was lackluster and foolish. But rising pressure over the past two decades — from civil-society groups, the media, and more enlightened politicians — is finally showing results,” he writes. He provides a brief of the country’s response to the epidemic, and notes “annual AIDS-related deaths have fallen by around 100,000 since 2005.” However, “a new U.N. report [.pdf] suggests that South Africa’s battle against the virus is far from over,” he writes, providing statistics from the report. “More can and must be done,” Akunyili continues, adding, “But progress to date should be acknowledged, if not celebrated.” He concludes, “The recent successes demonstrate that with political will and sufficient resources, even the greatest of scourges can be beaten — a lesson not only for South Africa but also for countries elsewhere in Africa and the developing world” (11/20).

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