Monday, August 20, 2007

Manto Drama Enters Third Week

Just when you thought the news from South Africa couldn't get any weirder. The Sunday Times published a report yesterday that categorically declares that Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is an active alcoholic. Furthermore, it says doctors at a Johannesburg hospital where she received a liver transplant earlier this year covered up the fact that her own liver had failed due to alcoholic liver cirrhosis. The South African newspaper goes on to say that she has been seen drunk since the transplant.

Oh yeah and Tshabalala-Msimang was convicted of stealing jewelry and other items from patients at a hospital in Botswana, where she used to work in the 1970s.

As bizarre and damaging as Tshabalala-Msimang's pronouncements on AIDS have been, I'm troubled by how much of her personal medical records are being made public in this ongoing scandal. Privacy rules should cover everyone not just our friends.

On a personal note, I picked up a rental car over the weekend, packed up some clothes and my laptop and moved in to my new digs in Cambridge. Still learning where the post office, grocery store and other important services are located. Have already started to meet some of the other Nieman Fellows. Orientation begins next week.

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