Dr Pfaff was informed late yesterday (wed) in a letter given to him the Manguzi Hopsital manager that the the KwaZulu-Natal health department had decided to withdraw the charges against him.
The misconduct charges against Dr Pfaff related to him buying an additional antiretroviral drug with donor money and giving it to pregnant women with HIV at Manguzi as a more effective treatment to prevent the mothers from passing HIV to their babies.
The charges sparked a huge outcry countrywide, with condemnation from the HIV Clinicians Society, SA Medical Association, the Rural Doctors’ Association of SA (Rudasa), the AIDS law Project and the Treatment Action Campaign.
A petition in support of Dr Pfaff being circulated amongst healthworkers had already collected almost 900 signatures by the time the charges were dropped.
Meanwhile, Rudasa is still pursuing the insulting comments attributed to health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni about rural doctors made during a visit to Manguzi Hospital recently.
MEC Nkonyeni said that rural doctors were motivated by money rather than care for their patients ‘ a comment that her office did not deny that she had made.
She also described AZT as toxic. Dr Pfaff had bought AZT to supplement the nevirapine-only regime of KZN’s prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Rudasa has asked Nkonyeni to clarify her remarks and apologise if she did say such things about rural doctors.
‘If it is really what you meant, we would expect an apology. If you know of situations where doctors are not caring, we would appreciate if you could inform RuDASA so that we can work together to improve rural health care,’ said the organisation.
Rudasa also asked for a meeting with the MEC ‘to discuss how rural health can be improved and supported, including recruitment and retention strategies’.