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Provincial and national health officials were keeping a low profile as the opposition Democratic Alliance on Tuesday demanded that health minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang step in to prevent disciplinary action being taken against a doctor.
The doctor is alleged to have dispensed dual therapy treatment to HIV-positive babies. In a statement, DA health spokesman Mike Waters claimed that a KwaZulu-Natal doctor was charged with misconduct for dispensing dual therapy treatment to HIV-positive babies.
Dr Colin Pfaff, a doctor at Manguzi Hospital in northern KwaZulu-Natal, confirmed the case against him but declined to talk to Sapa, saying he could not speak to the media.
Attempts to contact KwaZulu-Natal provincial health spokesman Leon Mbangwa and national health spokesman Sibani Mngadi were unsuccessful. The Manguzi hospital manager SB Vumasi could also not be reached for comment.
Waters said: "The DA has today written to the Minister of Health, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, to formally request that she intervene to protect Dr Colin Pfaff. "She needs to do this not only for the sake of the doctor, who has been treated unjustly, and for the sake of babies who are now being denied a life-saving treatment, but also to demonstrate that she is actually committed to this policy - because the long delays that have dogged its implementation have created the distinct impression that it is not a priority for the Minister, even though it will save many lives," he said.
The party said on January 25, the National Aids Council had approved a policy of dual therapy, after many delays, to allow the national Department of Health to get its paperwork in order.
Waters said since August last year, Manguzi hospital had been providing dual-therapy using funds donated to the hospital by a UK based NGO and had no cost implications for South Africa.
Treatment Action Campaign officials were not immediately available for comment.