Friday, July 01, 2005

It's not really a lie if I misspoke, defended my statement and then made an error in. . .

Ah Hell, it's Bush Administration lie #8,962 (give or take) and it was only to show what a truly magnanimous administration his is when it comes to AIDS and Africa at the World Economic Forum last January. During the Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the administration claimed to be assisting in much needed treatment of 32,839 AIDS patients in Botswana. This was news to the folks in Botswana where they'd noted that Bush had promised millions of dollars in aid but hadn't actually sent anything.
The operations manager of Botswana's treatment program, Segolame Ramotlhwa, called the U.S. figures "a gross misrepresentation of the facts." His boss, Patson Mazonde, who as deputy permanent secretary for health services had overseen the program since its inception in 2002, called the Bush claim "false" but suggested it was merely a mistake.

They agreed on the number of patients in Botswana who had been put on treatment because of the Bush program: zero.
The administration, for its part, defended the figures they'd provided in January until last month when they revised the number of patients they help in Botswana to 20,000 that were receiving "significant support" for their AIDS treatment. The folks in Botswana checked again and found the number was more accurately assessed at 0.

According to WaPo, the dispute comes down to how support is defined. The government of Botswana considers support to be financial/medical in nature, the Bush administration includes prayers and good thoughts when calculating its contribution.

The head of the Bush administration's program in Botswana, Peter H. Kilmarx, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in an interview here in May that he was aware of the upset among the Botswanan officials but that the treatment claims fit within U.S. government guidelines. The definition used for measuring support, he said, had broadened to the point that even assistance as trivial as editing a government health official's speeches could allow the Bush program to say it had supported treatment for everyone receiving antiretrovirals from that nation's public health system.

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