Thabo Mbeki's final self-published letter focused on the number of HIV deaths reported as evidence to disprove the Aids denialism perception that plagued his tenure.
But the reluctance to acknowledge Aids as a cause of death has hindered efforts to monitor the impact of HIV control efforts in South Africa.
702/Cape Talk's Redi Tlhabi on Monday spoke to Debbie Bradshaw from the Medical Research Council regarding the issue. Bradshaw suggests that weaknesses in the system where HIV Aids was often not recorded as cause of death has produced inaccurate stats.
Listen to the coversation below:
Doctors will write the immediate cause of deaths and not the underlying cause of death...We think it's due to the stigma.— Prof Debbie Bradshaw, Medical Research Council
To focus on the HIV death reported is not a good idea. Former president Mbeki should look at the full picture and he'll see that there was an unperecedented increase in the number of deaths of young people and children.— Prof Debbie Bradshaw, Medical Research Council
Redi also spoke to a doctor who explained how doctors made a decision to not document HIV as a cause of patients' deaths.
At the time, we made a deliberate decision that we will never write HIV on any of the death certificates because there were a number of issues around it.— Mavuso, caller in Midrand
Life insurance wouldn't pay out on some of these patients when they had HIV written.— Mavuso, caller in Midrand