SABC News, SADC ministers of health oppose human cloning, 3 August 2004

Health ministers are opposed to human cloning.

Ministers of health from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have come up against human cloning, saying it could amount to exploitation of human beings. This emerged after a meeting between Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the South African health minister, and 13 of her counterparts in Pretoria today.

The issue is scheduled to be discussed at the UN general assembly next month. Talks on cloning started in the UN assembly in 2001. Some of the concerns are moral, ethical and religious.

Hussein Mwinyi, the deputy health minister of Tanzania, said: "We have agreed that we are also very much against human cloning for reproductive purposes but the question remains as to whether we should allow it for therapeutic or rather any such purpose."

The ministers also looked at what is been done in the sub region on HIV/Aids, TB, Malaria and Polio. They are worried about the lack of progress in the fight against TB. "If we don't have good laboratory facilities it's very difficult to diagnose people on time, so the turnaround time for you to diagnose whether this person is positive and not ... it takes a bit of a time," said Tshabalala-Msimang.

The ministers have also agreed that South Africa and Zimbabwe should develop guidelines for starting a SADC regional HIV/Aids fund.




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