You've come to an old part of SW Online. We're still moving this and other older stories into our new format. In the meanwhile, click here to go to the current home page.

No AIDS drugs for Africa

June 22, 2001 | Page 2

WASHINGTON--George W. Bush and his cabinet of CEOs have to be happy with the corporate mentality of the bureaucrat who looks after U.S. foreign aid.

Andrew Natsios is head of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

And in an interview with the Boston Globe in June, he displayed his ruthless commitment to efficiency.

Asked about the issue of AIDS in Africa, Natsios insisted that it would be wasteful for the U.S. to devote money to supplying life-saving drugs to those already infected with HIV--even though the so-called "drug cocktails" can stop the progress of the disease.

What is Natsios worried about?

Many Africans "don't know what Western time is," he told the Globe. "You have to take these drugs a certain number of hours each day, or they don't work.

"Many people in Africa have never seen a clock or a watch their entire lives. And if you say, one o'clock in the afternoon, they don't know what you're talking about."

In other words, Africans are just too ignorant to be given the drugs they need to survive.

Natsios isn't even correct by his own racist terms.

Toby Kasper, an official with the health organization Doctors Without Borders, told New York Times columnist Bob Herbert that the latest trend in drug cocktails is fewer pills, taken just twice a day.

But Natsios can't be interested anyway.

He told the Globe that his strategy is to "just keep talking about prevention."

In other words, just say no to AIDS.

Only a drug company executive could love this man. They prefer that their AIDS drugs not be distributed in Africa--so they can be used somewhere else to pump up the bottom line.

Home page | Back to the top