Thursday, December 01, 2005

When words are both essential and meaningless:


Koinange: Hospital scene like 'hell on earth'

African nation of Malawi battered by AIDS, drought

By Jeff Koinange

Thursday, December 1, 2005; Posted: 3:46 p.m. EST (20:46 GMT)

Editor's note: In our Behind the Scenes series, CNN correspondents share their experiences covering news.
Jeff Koinange, CNN Africa correspondent, in Malawi.

BLANTYRE, Malawi (CNN) -- Walking into the highly restricted tuberculosis ward of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Malawi's second city of Blantyre is a lesson in humility.

To enter, you need to fill out a lot of paperwork letting the hospital know that if anything happens to you, it is not liable. This takes a couple of hours.

Once you're cleared, you get a surgeon's mask and a guide and off you go.

Our team did this recently and entered a scene that's the closest thing we've seen to hell on earth.

In bed after bed, the dead and the dying lie side-by-side. Patients stricken by advanced tuberculosis brought on by AIDS cough uncontrollably while relatives try to comfort them.

More: - Koinange: Hospital scene like 'hell on earth' - Dec 1, 2005

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