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South 2 North

Tackling 'the big three'

We discuss malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS, three infectious diseases that account for 10 percent of all deaths worldwide.

Last Modified: 28 Apr 2013 07:27
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No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

Doctors call them "the big three" - malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS - three infectious diseases that account for 10 percent of all deaths worldwide.

The UN-backed Global Fund estimates it needs $87bn to bring these killer diseases under control.

To discuss the challenges of drug-resistant diseases, how we can finance treatment, and the millennium development goals, this week Redi Tlhabi speaks to Dr Lucica Ditiu, the executive secretary of the Stop TB Partnership based at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva; and Dr Mphu Ramatlapeng, the executive vice president at the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Lesotho's former health minister. 

Ramatlapeng explains that mine workers from Southern Africa bring drug-resistant forms of TB back from the mines in South Africa to their villages, which consequently results in a rise in infections among women and children in the rural areas.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has now outlined guidelines for cohesive treatment plans throughout the area, to prevent different strains of the TB virus jumping from area to area.

Ditiu explains that TB is not only an African problem but is also having a devastating effect in parts of Eastern Europe. Tlhabi asks the doctors why malaria, TB and HIV have not been more effectively dealt with globally if they are relatively cheap diseases to prevent or cure.

"You know TB and HIV remain a poor man’s disease. It remains a women’s disease that is caused largely by men. I know it will sound controversial but it is a fact," says Ramatlapeng.

Tlhabi also speaks to music legend Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the "Princess of Africa", about her work in creating awareness around malaria, as the world marks Malaria Day on 25 April.

Chaka Chaka counts Nelson Mandela among her admirers; he often refers to her as his daughter. She is also the first African woman to receive the World Economic Forum’s Crystal award for artists who improve the world through their work. Chaka Chaka became involved in fighting malaria after she lost one of her musicians to the disease after travelling to Gabon for a show.

"I’ve travelled the world, seen people dying from this curable disease. But what I’ve always seen, I’ve seen people wanting to make ends meet, if people are educated, if people are informed, if people have got those nets, and people are given a hand up, not a hand out, they make do with very little."

 

South2North  can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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