Africa: The World-Class Team Leading South Africa's Battle Against COVID-19

analysis

Science, experience at the coalface, commitment and knowledge are the key components that distinguish the government's response to Covid-19. A look back on trailblazers who ensured that human rights prevailed.

Twenty years ago almost to the day, scientists in South Africa were waging war, not against a rogue flu virus, but against those who were bent on denying lifesaving treatment to thousands of desperately ill people who had contracted the human immunodeficiency virus -- HIV.

It was a war that drove committed scientists, doctors, legal activists and ordinary people to the edge of despair. But it was a war they had to win at all costs, even if it meant humiliation, castigation, widespread public protest, smuggling of drugs to save lives, jail time if need be. It was seen by many as a never-ending dance of death by powerful heads of state that threatened to extinguish a large slice of creation.

It involved bizarre diets of garlic and beetroot, midnight dallying on the internet with dissident scientists, a network of obfuscation and confusion that made a mockery of effective government and the concept of life-saving responses.

Fast forward 20 years to the Covid-19 pandemic and South Africa's strident and swift...

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