Friday, 2 November 2007

Of a dual epidemic and of responsibility

HIV and TB are sweeping across sub-Saharan Africa, working in tandem. Tuberculosis is prevalent across the world, but most people do not develop the open form of the disease. People with an HIV infection have no immune system, and TB flourishes. Local health systems in poor African nations are not able to detect TB until it's too late, and the flood of cases overwhelms their logistics. If left untreated, having TB on top of HIV will lead to death in 90% of cases.

The Metropolitan Police Service, headed by commissioner Sir Ian Blair, has been found guilty of breaches of health and safety in the case of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezez in July 2005. This Brazilian man was wrongly identified as a suicide bomber, followed into an underground train and shot in the head at point blank range. No individual police officer has been found solely responsible, but the case was flagged up as a serious systems failure. Calls are now beginning to mount up for Sir Ian Blair to take responsibility and step down. Looking back at this sorry saga, it would be grating for Mr Blair to have to go, although as head of the MPS he is ultimately responsible for what happens on his watch. My recollection is, however, that he was systematically not or incorrectly briefed by his staff. Still, a systems failure.


  1. How awful that TB is now attacking the poor people of Africa.  After viewing several of the television shows hosted by celebrities I was deeply saddened by what these people deal with on a daily basis.  They certainly don't need TB on top of the HIV crisis.  I cannot imagine what the family of Jean Charles must feel.  Pardon my bluntness but that is one big screw up and someone should be held accountable.

  2. Things are a mess right now....we live in so much fear it's hard to know who our enemies are....June

  3. lindapaterson1772 November 2007 at 17:00

    They have enough already to put up with with out adding to it

  4. I wasn't aware that TB was increasing at such an alarming rate. That's scary!
    And how sad that they killed an innocent man point blank. An innocent man!! That's just crazy.