In a hospital in Uganda, 14-year-old Vincent is being treated for cryptococcal meningitis, contracted as a result of AIDS. Underweight, frightened and wracked with pain, he is one of literally millions of AIDS orphans across Africa who will die in the next ten years unless life-saving antiretroviral drugs become more widely available. But at current prices, the drugs are just too expensive for most African countries.
The fight for affordable drugs in Africa first made world headlines last year when a consortium of forty-two major pharmaceutical companies took the South African government to court over its right to import or manufacture generic drugs to treat AIDS sufferers.
After a global campaign by activist groups, trade unions and NGOs, the companies finally withdrew the case in April 2001 -- in what was likely regarded as a humiliating climb-down. But even before the court case outcome, the companies had begun reducing the prices of their patented drugs -- as part of the Accelerating Access Initiative brokered by UNAIDS to provide drugs at a lower cost and training to selected African countries.
This program from the City Life series investigates the background to AIDS treatment in Africa, reports of the success of the Ugandan program, and asks why the South African government is still refusing to authorize a national program of treatment for AIDS.
The producer of this program has collected extensive resources at www.tve.org/lifeonline/index.cfm?aid=1171.
The other titles in the series are:
1. City Life - Explores Sao Paolo in introduction to series examining the effects of globalization on people and cities.
2. The Long March - Community in Chengdu, China has organized to clean-up polluted river.
3. The Health Protestors - Health care advocates demand universal health care for the world's population at international convention in Dhaka.
4. Together Against Violence - Poor Jamaican community overcomes violence.
5. Paradise Domain - Pacific islanders are not benefiting from digital windfall or World Wide Web.
6. Pavements of Gold - Increase in urban poverty and population, caused by globalization, threatens Peruvians.
7. Doing the Right Thing - Porto Alegre, Brazil has benefited from urban revitalization.
8. My Mother Built This House - Large homeless contingent in South Africa has organized to build houses for each other.
9. Barcelona Blueprint - Barcelona today is a model of urban planning that may prove sustainable.
10. Gaza Under Siege - The Gaza Strip has been a virtual prison for Palestinians for over fifty years.
11. Waiting to Go - Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are denied human rights.
12. A Fistful of Rice - Protein deficiency threatens generations of children in Nepal.
13. Patently Obvious - International patent regulations only protect multinationals.
14. The Other Side - Poor Mexicans attempt perilous border crossing to US, often at the expense of family, traditional culture, and their lives.
15. The Miller's Tale: Bread Is Life - Efforts are underway in Egypt and Yemen to fortify flour with iron to wipe out needless malnutrition.
16. Brazil: Winning Against AIDS - Brazil has developed generic antiretroviral drugs to care for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
17. Missing Out - Anemia threatens the population of Niger and Tanzania.
18. Stop the Traffick - Investigates horror of child sex industry in Cambodia.
19. My Hanoi - Tour of rapidly urbanizing Hanoi, and the effect on citizens and culture.
20. Lines in the Dust - In revolutionary programs in Northern Ghana and India, gender roles are challenged, and illiterate adults educated.
22. Holy Smoke: Cambodians Fight Tobacco - Buddhist monks lead anti-tobacco campaign in Cambodia.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2002
Copyright Date: 2001
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-154-1
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-947-9