Wednesday, September 27, 2006

INJECTION! Documentary about AIDS and the Tripoli Six

In my last post about the Tripoli Six, I talked about the Mickey Grant documentary INJECTION! In this post, I will go into greater detail. The film is about the plight of the Tripoli Six; but it's really about the state of health care in Africa and Asia. The film is about how Khaddafi is scapegoating those innocent medics to cover up the abysmal health care conditions in his country; but it's really about how the WHO is allowing similarly bad conditions persist throughout the developing world. Most importantly, the film is about how syringes are being reused, and millions are dying as a result.

After a brief introduction about the folly of preaching abstinence, the documentary gets right into the syringe issue. One point I found quite interesting, is that it turns out that a few years back, the National Institute of Health (NIH) funded a study to develop a single-use syringe. They actually came up with one and made several batches. Unfortunately, nobody is using them, and people are dying because of it. The clip below is from the movie INJECTION! and shows Mickey Grant demonstrating how one of these devices works.

I find it amazing that these syringes aren't the norm in Africa and Asia. I personally think that they should be widely distibuted not only on those two continents, but to drug addicts back here as well. I believe that syringes that cannot be reused would make the perfect complement (not substitute) for the needle exchange programs that many of our more progressive cities have.

Yes, someone who was desperate and clever enough could find their way around the safety and reuse the syringe, but what I got from the movie was that it is seldom the case with the doctors and nurses in Africa. In fact, most rural clinics don't even realize that they're buying black-market used needles. Switching to these new syringes would go a long way towards ending this practice.

Certainly these syringes cost more than the traditional type--a retractable needle isn't exactly a trivial addition. But can they be SO much more expensive as to justify the current death-toll? I can't possibly see how!

See the movie! It is informative, shocking, thought-provoking, and yet very even handed. It showed how Mickey repeatedly tried to talk to either Khaddafi or any of the surviving children (alleged victims of the Tripoli 6) to get the another side of the story, but was ultimately rejected. I even think he was more than fair with the anti-Tripoli6 demonstrators. One man actually seemed quite articulate and polite (for an ill-informed, close-minded demonstrator). I'm sure that if the film makers actually wanted these people to look like wild-eyed, crazy zealots, that would've been too easy (they actually did briefly show one of those at the begining, preaching fidelity). I'm guessing that they had to sift through the interviews to find the best face to put on that crowd.

This is a great documentary. Everyone should see it and don't forget to take action regarding the Tripoli Six.

1 comment:

jean said...

The syringe idea is clever, however, there is no easy solution to the overall problem(s). The problems are poverty, corruption, greed, etc. These issues will require huge policy changes in countries involved including the U.S., especially the U.S.