South African Prez Fires AIDS Crusader

Minister sacked as Mbeki continues to deny science of HIV
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 10, 2007 11:02 AM CDT
South African President Thabo Mbeki, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left to right, talk during a meeting in Heiligendamm June 8, 2007. World leaders meeting in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – South Africa's president has fired his government's leading HIV/AIDS crusader, the prime mover of a plan to offer free treatment to millions. Thabo Mbeki dismissed his deputy health minister, who has opposed his AIDS denialism for years, the Mail and Guardian reports.  Mbeki has drawn worldwide outrage for the move, which puts at risk her ambitious antiretroviral campaign.

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge has long been the South African government's loudest voice for a scientific approach to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. She has opposed Mbeki and his health minister, who notoriously said that those infected should eat beetroot and garlic to stay healthy. Mbeki has sought an excuse to fire her for years and finally sacked her for traveling without his approval to a conference in Madrid.