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The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer Reports From South Africa on Renewed Efforts to Combat HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis

Series marks the launch of the NewsHour's Global Health Unit, funded by the Gates Foundation

WASHINGTON, March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer's Global Health Unit launches its first series of reports next week -- March 23 - 27, 2009. NewsHour Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez reports from South Africa on new efforts underway to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the rise of HIV/TB co-infections, and the impact of AIDS on children in a 3-part series that begins Monday, March 23, 2009. The series is timed to coincide with World TB Day - March 24, 2009

The Global Health Unit is made possible by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Upcoming reports include a segment on polio in Nigeria, and two pieces about health in Mexico.

Ray Suarez is available to speak about The NewsHour's global health coverage and his observations from South Africa. Below are descriptions of the reports to air on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer next week.

Mon., March 23 - New Hope for HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Will it last?

After years of misinformation about the HIV virus spread by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki and his health minister, the country is finally coming to grips with its AIDS crisis. Barbara Hogan, the new South African Minister of Health, is trying to contain a disease which has infected one of every 6 people in the country. Suarez looks at why this disease has been so hard to contain, recent successful efforts and the struggles that lie ahead.

Tues., March 24 - New life for an old killer (World TB Day)

As seen in this report that Suarez taped at the Prince Cyril Zulu Centre in Durban, South Africa, and in a clinic in the rural Illembe District of KwaZulu-Natal province, tuberculosis is an old disease that has been given new life by HIV. Although HIV infected patients are living longer due to antiretroviral drugs, their weakened immune systems make them particularly susceptible to TB, which has become their number one killer.

Wed., March 25 - The Lost Generation

12-year-old twins, Batkithi and Bonisani Masoka are among the millions of children world wide left orphaned by AIDS, many of them living in Africa. South African health officials refer to these children as "the lost generation." Suarez visits a rural area in KwaZulu Natal where children, like the Masokas, act as the head of their households, struggling to raise their siblings and struggling to survive.

A web site devoted to The NewsHour's global health reports launches later today. It can be found online here:

SOURCE The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
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