Life Esidimeni Inquest: Journal of a grieving sister

Life Esidimeni Inquest: Journal of a grieving sister

The Life Esidimeni Inquest that started in July has been postponed until 15 November. This is the fifth postponement, meaning another agonising wait for family members of the deceased. The Inquest is crucial to determine who should be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mental healthcare users in 2016. Here one family member, Christine Nxumalo, shares in her own words some extracts from her journal on the Inquest proceedings, the long wait, and dealing with grief.

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Opinion: Quality Tuberculosis care starts with people

The world is seeing tuberculosis (TB) deaths increase for the first time in over a decade. To turn things around and to put an end to TB being a leading infectious disease killer globally, we need to make sure the voices of people affected by TB are at the core of developing person-centered, quality TB care, free from stigma and discrimination, argue a group of TB experts and activists.

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Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

According to new estimates from the World Health Organization around 61 000 people died of TB in South Africa in 2020, an increase of around 5% over 2019. That works out to over 1 100 TB deaths in the country every week. We urgently need a transparent TB recovery plan and we need both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Joe Phaahla to invest real political capital in the implementation of the plan, the authors argue.

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scrabble blocks spelling mental health

What public sector mental health services look like in the Free State

A 36-year-old mother living with HIV from Thabong in Welkom in the Free State is among the many millions of people in South Africa who rely on public healthcare services. Also, like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated disruptions have left her in a constant struggle with anxiety. Refilwe Mochoari asks what mental health services are available to people in the Free State who depend on the public healthcare system.

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insulin injection

In-depth: Does SA have a diabetes testing problem?

Though the numbers are relatively uncertain, it is estimated that between four and five million people in South Africa are living with diabetes. One reason for the uncertainty is a lack of testing. A lack of testing also means that many people get diagnosed too late in the course of the disease. Elri Voigt asks what we do and do not know about diabetes in the country and what should be done about it.

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TAC member holding up TB poster calling for TB to be declared a national emergency.

In-depth: Landmark moment as AI beats humans in reading X-rays for TB

“The results are in: artificial intelligence (AI) outperforms humans at reading chest X-rays for signs of tuberculosis,” proclaimed a recent newsletter of the Stop TB Partnership. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to a variety of experts about the landmark study behind this proclamation and asked what AI-aided X-ray interpretation may mean for countries like South Africa with high TB burdens.

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nurse's hand on that of a patient

Mental Health: Grief, loss – we are all traumatised, says psychiatrist on the COVID-19 frontlines

Working with Groote Schuur Hospital’s frontline COVID team, Psychiatry Professor Jackie Hoare help manage the mental health of patients admitted with severe COVID pneumonia and also the mental health needs of fellow healthcare workers. Bienne Huisman caught up with her to talk about providing counselling at the bedside of COVID patients and how we deal with the complexities of grief in a time of COVID-19.

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IN FOCUS: Spotlight on HIV

The burnt section at the Charlotte Maxeka Hospital.

In Focus: What the Charlotte Maxeke fire tells us about health and safety in Gauteng hospitals

As Charlotte Maxeke Hospital missed its date to reopen this month after a fire in April, there are concerns that the true cost of the fire is still to be counted and that the fire is just another indication of a health department and fire service in crisis. Ufrieda Ho reports 

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Opinion: Our data shows where Gauteng clinics are failing, government must help fix it

Too many clinics are in crisis and it is driving the continuing HIV epidemic. People are dying because of it, argue members of the Ritshidze Project as they launch a report into the state of public sector facilities in Gauteng.

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Where are we in the race for a HIV vaccine?

While progress in the race for effective COVID-19 vaccines has been rapid and impressive, an effective HIV vaccine remains elusive. As part of Spotlight’s World AIDS Day 2020 coverage, Kathryn Cleary asks two of South Africa’s top vaccine researchers to update us on where we are in the race for an HIV vaccine.

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HIV and circumcision: Where are we at the end of 2020?

Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) has been shown to reduce the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by 60%. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown, health authorities and organisations conducting VMMC in South Africa, say the numbers of men and boys being medically circumcised have dropped dramatically. Siyabonga Kamnqa reports.

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Interactive table: See how SA’s provinces compare on the 90-90-90 targets

New estimates of HIV in South Africa’s provinces were made public last week. This interactive table shows how South Africa’s nine provinces compare on the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.

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HIV death rate in SA men much higher than in women

While men account for only a third of South Africa’s roughly 200 000 new HIV infections in the year ending mid-2019, they account for more than half of the approximately 74 000 HIV-related deaths in the same period. This is according to new estimates released on Tuesday from the Thembisa mathematical model of HIV in South Africa.

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Spotlight
Spotlight
Episode 1: Sexual and reproductive health rights
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  • Episode 1: Sexual and reproductive health rights

    Episode 1: Sexual and reproductive health rights

    Aug 23, 2018 • 23:42

    In this first episode of the Spotlight podcast host Nomatter Ndebele speaks to Dr Daphney Conco of Wits about what SRHR is and why it matters. We also hear from Vuyokazi Gonyela of TAC about their SRHR work in provinces. Finally, Nomatter chats to Spotlight guest editor Thuthu Mbatha about…

  • Episode 2: Life Esidimeni revisited

    Episode 2: Life Esidimeni revisited

    Aug 28, 2018 • 1:00:42

    In episode 2 we catch up with the processes around the Life Esidimeni tragedy. Christine Nxumalo discusses what further action the families are hoping for. Tendai Mafuma provides fascinating insights into the prospects for criminal liability. Mark Heywood gives his views on the politics surrounding the case and what that…

  • Episode 3: Sasha Stevenson on what NHI and HMI  means for healthcare reform in South Africa

    Episode 3: Sasha Stevenson on what NHI and HMI means for healthcare reform in South Africa

    Oct 5, 2018 • 00:18:53

    At a recent civil society meeting jointly hosted by SECTION27 and Spotlight, Sasha Stevenson, head of health at SECTION27, presented on the implications of NHI and HMI for access to healthcare in South Africa. We now make her informative and thought-provoking presentation available as a podcast. (We apologise for the…

  • Episode 4: Marijuana, health and the law in South Africa

    Episode 4: Marijuana, health and the law in South Africa

    Dec 7, 2018 • 18:41

    Host Nomatter Ndebele chats to Dr Michael Herbst of the Cancer Association of South Africa about the landmark Constitutional Court judgement on the possession and use of marijuana and the judgement’s implications for the health of people in South Africa.

  • Episode 5: Dr Fareed Abdullah on South Africa’s  AIDS response

    Episode 5: Dr Fareed Abdullah on South Africa’s AIDS response

    Dec 14, 2018 • 22:26

    Dr Fareed Abdullah of the SA MRC, previously CEO of SANAC, recently addressed the TAC’s 20-year celebrations. Listen what he had to say about the history of South Africa’s AIDS response and where we are now.

  • Episode 6: Justice Edwin Cameron addresses the  TAC 20-year celebrations

    Episode 6: Justice Edwin Cameron addresses the TAC 20-year celebrations

    Dec 14, 2018 • 13:14

    Justice Edwin Cameron of South Africa’s Constitutional Court recently addressed attendees at the TAC’s 20-year celebrations. We bring you a recording of what he had to say to TAC members, supporters and allies.

  • Episode 7: Lotti Rutter on PEPFAR funding and why we need a People’s COP

    Episode 7: Lotti Rutter on PEPFAR funding and why we need a People’s COP

    Jul 25, 2019 • 24:10

    Nomatter Ndebele chats to Lotti Rutter of HealthGAP about what the People’s COP is and why it matters.

  • Episode 8: How South Africa is performing against key NSP indicators

    Episode 8: How South Africa is performing against key NSP indicators

    Jul 25, 2019 • 19:30

    Host Nomatter Ndebele chats to Spotlight editor Marcus Low about South Africa’s progress against key NSP indicators.

  • Episode 9: Rensburg on healthcare reform in South Africa

    Episode 9: Rensburg on healthcare reform in South Africa

    Jul 25, 2019 • 27:36

    Host Nomatter Ndebele chats to RHAP director Russell Rensburg about the major reforms underway in the South African healthcare system.

  • Episode 10: Siphiwe Mhlangana on the Treatment Action Campaign’s treatment literacy work

    Episode 10: Siphiwe Mhlangana on the Treatment Action Campaign’s treatment literacy work

    Jul 25, 2019 • 21:15

    Host Nomatter Ndebele chats to Siphiwe Mhlangana of the TAC about his treatment literacy work and why treatment literacy still matters.

Spotlight subscribes to the Code of Ethics and Conduct for South African Print and Online Media that prescribes news that is truthful, accurate, fair and balanced. If we don’t live up to the Code, within 20 days of the date of publication of the material, please contact the Public Advocate at 011 484 3612, fax: 011 484 3619. You can also contact the Press Council’s Case Officer on khanyim@ombudsman.org.za or lodge a complaint on their website: www.presscouncil.org.za