Dr Beetroot

For those of you who followed the recent news of the HIV / AIDS conference in Toronto, and heard about South Africa’s fine display of advanced treatments, this entry is for you. Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang in an interview on SABC (South African Broadcasting Corp) upon her arrival back home, slightly paraphrased:

John Pearlman (I think): “What is your response to people who call you a raving lunatic for putting up a display on HIV and AIDS that showed garlic and beetroot as effective treatments for HIV?”

Dr. Beetroot: “South African journalism is so irresponsible. That was taken completely out of context. People did not tell the whole story. There was not just garlic and beetroot on that table…”

[At this point the hopeful listener might expect something along the lines of “there was also extensive information on anti retroviral therapy and voluntary counseling and testing.” Not so much…]

Dr Beetroot: “…there were also potatoes.”

So in honour of the good doctor, here is a recent list of the Minister of Health’s Lexicon of Medical Terms:

Artery: The study of paintings

Bacteria: Back door to the cafeteria

Barium: What you do with dead patients

Caesarean Section: A suburb in Rome

Cat scan: A search for a kitty

D & C: Where Washington is

Dilate: To live longer

Enema: Not your friend

Fester: Quicker

Impotent: Distinguished and well-known

Labour pain: Getting hurt at work

Medical Staff: Doctor’s walking stick

Morbid: Higher offer

Nitrates: Cheaper than day rates

Out Patient: A person who has fainted

Post Operative: A letter courier

Seizure: A Roman Emperor

Terminal Illness: When you get sick at the airport

Tumor: Another couple

Urine: opposite of “you’re out”

Another lovely tidbit about South Africa’s politicians includes the fact that the Minister of Transport failed a recent driving test.

I won’t even go into the hundreds of people who rallied outside the court everyday while Jacob Zuma was being tried for corruption, having recently beaten the infamous rape charge. (He’s the one who said it was alright that he had unprotected sex / rape with someone who is publicly HIV positive because he had a hot shower afterwards.) The court threw out the case this week on some technicalities and a lack of preparedness on the part of the prosecution. Many many people here want to see Zuma as the next president. A lot.

Ah African politics. Nothing will shock me after this. Sponsorship scandal….ha!


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