Monday, September 25, 2006

Save the Tripoli Six!

After talking about it for a few days, I've finally sent off my letters to Congress and written this post. The injustice that is being perpetrated against these medics is horrific, but this case is symbolic of what is wrong with the "health care system" in Africa. For a quick summary, check out this Nature editorial.

Another great source of information is Declan Butler's (a repoter for Nature) personal site.

His latest post has a link to the movie Injection on Google video. This is an 82 minute documentary by Mickey Grant about HIV transmission in Africa and the case of the Tripoli 6. Here is the description that comes with the video:

AIDS is a global tragedy, striking Africa especially hard. Rampant reuse of disposable syringes is responsible for as many as seven million cases of AIDS in Africa alone. Substandard Health care continues in Africa while AIDS spirals out of control. Public health officials are reluctant to discuss this problem, perhaps in fear that Africans will avoid critical medical care, such as inoculations for malaria and other virulent diseases. The thrust of AIDS prevention campaigns is on safe sex, and healthcare risks are critically overlooked. In Libya, five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor were arrested in 1999 and convicted of infecting over four hundred Libyan children with HIV in a Benghazi hospital. Libyan prosecution, operating at the discretion of infamous dictator Moammar Kaddafi, has maintained at trial that the nurses conspired with the American CIA and the Israeli Mossad to maliciously infect the children.

In this hard-hitting film, Mickey Grant travels to Kenya, Bangkok, Sofia, Libya, Rome and London in an attempt to discover the hidden truths. He follows the trail of syringes from hospital to garbage dump, and then back into Africa's health care system. He interviews leaders of the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, government officials, the Kaddafi opposition, Bulgarian journalists, medical scientists, and health care workers. We also hear from two imprisoned Bulgarian nurses, the son of Moammar Kaddafi, and families of the infected children.

Could these healthcare workers have committed this horrific crime? Or, are they scapegoats to divert attention from institutional shortcomings? Is Moammar Kaddafi ultimately responsible for this tragedy? Is syringe reuse common in Libya and the rest of Africa? If syringe reuse is spreading HIV, why is it allowed to continue? Bottom line, millions more will continue to die unless the world health care community addresses these issues.


Produced, Directed and Photographed by Mickey Grant Co-Produced by Jim Curtis and Cindy Grant Edited by Jim Curtis and Mickey Grant Music by Callen Clarke and Jamal Mohamed Written by Cindy Grant and Mickey Grant Story Editor - Ramona Dea Lucero Art Director - Nick Curtis

This is a great film! I not only recommend that you watch it, send it to everyone you know.

If you'd like to write letters, Mike Dunford tells how to do it here. Here's who I've written to so far:
Relations and the Senate Foreign Relations Committees.

Committee Chair: Richard Lugar
Ranking Member: Joseph Biden

Mailing Address:
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6225

Majority Phone: (202) 224-4651
Minority Phone: (202) 224-3953

Chair: Henry Hyde
Ranking Member: Tom Lantos

Mailing Address:
House Committee on International Relations
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Other contacts:
Phone: (202) 225-5021
Fax: (202) 225-2035

Here's what I wrote (though I slightly personalized each hand written letter--especially to Biden since I went to the same high school as him)

Dear Senator (or Congressman X),
I am writing you to urge you to please put diplomatic pressure on Khadaffi to release the Tripoli 6. I am refering to the 5 Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor who have been falsely accused of infecting 400 Libyan children with HIV, and are sentenced to die by firing squad. This is not just about 6 innocent people--though that should be enough for a call to action--if the Libyans don't face up to their problems and are allowed to get away with scapegoating foreigners, many more children will needlessly die!

1 comment:

Mickey Grant said...

I don't think the link is working to my film INJECTION. The correct link is as follows:
I really appreciate everything your doing. My goal at the moment is to try to get many Libyans to view my film and help them to discover the sad state of their health care system. Besides the clinic in Benghazi where some of the nurses worked (400 or so cases) there is predicted the same sort of outbreaks as a result of syringe reuse in clinics across Libya with a total likely of over 100,000 infections. Here's a link to an article in a Bulgarian newspaper about a week ago:

Again, thanks for all the help,

Mickey Grant