In-depth: SA’s perennial problems with placing community service doctors

In-depth: SA’s perennial problems with placing community service doctors

Troubles regarding the placement of community service doctors have made headlines once again this year, as it seems to do most years. The structural roots of these problems are long-standing and complex. Elna Schütz unpacks the complexities and talks to role-players about possible solutions.

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Nicholas crisp

COVID-19: Crisp on the challenges with SA’s vaccine rollout

Dr Nicholas Crisp is a deputy director-general in the National Department of Health and the person responsible for coordinating South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Crisp spoke to Chris Bateman about challenges with the rollout and his wife and daughters getting sick with COVID-19.

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COVID-19: Jabs for most pregnant women more than a month away

Most pregnant women in South Africa will have to wait at least another month for a potentially life-saving COVID-19 jab. Chris Bateman takes a look at what we do and do not know about COVID-19 and its impact on pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant, and when it is safest for such women to get vaccinated.

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makeshift tents on the pavement under a bridge in Cape Town where people who are homeless live.

Efforts to vaccinate the homeless stumbling over red tape

South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme currently requires that people enter an identity number when registering on government’s electronic system and present an identity document when they go to get jabbed. This makes it hard for homeless people without IDs to get vaccinated. Siyabonga Kamnqa reports from the streets of Cape Town.

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In-depth: SA pharmacists will soon be able to prescribe HIV treatment

In what Spotlight understands to be a world-first, South Africa is on the brink of allowing pharmacists with the required permits to prescribe HIV medicines without people first having to get a script from a doctor or nurse. Catherine Tomlinson investigates how it will work and why it may be just the boost the country’s HIV response needs.

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

Important TB drug as effective at lower dose, study finds

The treatment of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis has been transformed over the last decade with treatment becoming more effective, safer, and treatment duration in many cases dropping to under a year. Even so, treatment can still come with serious side effects and for some, it can still last over a year and a half. In a finding that may help further reduce side effects, new research has found that the dosage of a key drug can be lowered without compromising how well it works. Tiyese Jeranji and Marcus Low report.

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OPINION: Community-Led Monitoring Dashboard Reveals the Crisis in SA’s Clinics

Data collected by the Ritshidze community-led healthcare monitoring project is now being shared through a new, publicly accessible online dashboard. Authors involved with the project explain the kinds of insights this rich new data source can give on healthcare services in South Africa.

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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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