Parents of Children Infected With HIV at Libyan Hospital Begin to Speak Out
March 14, 2011
Newsweek reports on how after 13 years of being forced into silence by the Libyan government, parents are beginning to speak out about the hundreds of children who became infected with HIV/AIDS at Al Fateh pediatric hospital in Benghazi, Libya. "Although the cause of the outbreak remains a mystery, outside studies implicate poor hygiene at the hospital rather than any of the conspiracy theories that abound in Libya," according to the magazine.
"[T]he government blamed the outbreak on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor at the hospital, falsely accusing them of deliberately infecting their young patients, and sentencing them to death. The medics were finally released in 2007, but not before the regime had extorted an Eastern European debt-forgiveness package and roughly three quarters of a billion dollars in supposed compensation and health-care assistance," the magazine notes. "The ransom Gaddafi received for freeing them enabled him to pay the victims' families roughly $1 million each, helping him to buy a little more silence." The article includes comments from a former patient as well as several parents whose children contracted HIV at the hospital (Elkin, 3/13).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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