About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Manto loves Rath

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) - May 6, 2005
Rapule Tabane

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has reopened the bitter debate about the efficiency of anti-retroviral drugs and defended the work of controversial vitamin therapist Dr Matthias Rath.

Rath has questioned the safety of anti-retrovirals and recommended the use of vitamins and micronutrients to treat HIV-positive people.

On Thursday Tshabalala-Msimang told journalists at a press briefing at the Union Buildings that the work that Rath was doing did not contradict government health policies. "Dr Rath's work complies with and complements our programmes," she said.

The minister repeatedly said that there was under-reporting of the side effects of anti-retrovirals. "I can't stand on a pedestal and say it is all good. It is obviously critical to educate people on the side effects of anti-retrovirals and if by doing so I endorse Dr Rath, then I don't know."

She said she would continue to highlight the importance of good nutrition and would not allow government to be pressured by the World Health Organisation's target of having three-million HIV-positive people on anti-retroviral treatment by 2005. The minister also disputed figures provided by her own department at the briefing that claimed 42 000 patients were on anti-retroviral treatment. "I don't know how they arrived at that figure. I don't know how it jumped from 28 000 to 42 000. If I get a report, it must be a comprehensive report that also mentions how many have dropped off the programme and how many have died of side effects. I have said before that I am not chasing numbers but the quality of health care."

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.