SA’s cancer data has significant gaps – now patients can help fix it

SA’s cancer data has significant gaps – now patients can help fix it

There are significant gaps in the data when it comes to understanding South Africa’s cancer burden. Things are however set to improve with an initiative that will allow members of the public to assist in data gathering. Elri Voigt reports on a new patient-led cancer registry that will feed into South Africa’s existing National Cancer Registry.

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Opinion: This is how SA can meet its HIV targets

To respond to the call to end AIDS by 2030, Dr Yogan Pillay argues it is firstly critical to agree on what we mean by ending AIDS. Secondly, he suggests it is important to have accurate and granular data that can inform a more targeted approach to reaching those people that the health system typically does not reach.

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tootbrushes and tooth paste

Opinion: We can’t simply close dental facilities during the festive period

The closure of some public sector oral health clinics in the Eastern Cape over the festive period is deeply concerning, having left some patients with nowhere to go. A comprehensive plan must be put in place for efficient management and referral of emergency oral healthcare cases during this time and we must ensure that people who need the services are aware of how to access them, argues Dr Bulela Vava.

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lawyer entering high court

Health in 2023: A deceptively busy year in fewer than 1 000 words

2023 was a busy year for healthcare in South Africa. We saw several promising policy developments, landmark court cases, important pieces of legislation, and some changes in leadership. Yet, take a step back and at facility level little seems to have changed. Shortages of healthcare workers persist, corruption is still rife, budgets tight, and our health governance crisis remains as acute as ever. Marcus Low looks back at the year in health in fewer than 1 000 words.

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Hands holding red ribbons

Analysis: Where we are with NIMART 13 years later

Once South Africa had closed the door on state-sponsored AIDS denialism in 2008, a critical question was how to offer HIV treatment to as many eligible people as possible as quickly as possible. Given that the health system did not have enough doctors for the job, it was decided in 2010 to rope in nurses to help out. Tiyese Jeranji asks where things stand with Nurse Initiated and Managed Antiretroviral treatment (NIMART) 13 years later.

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Declare TB a National Emergency poster. PHOTO: GCIS

Analysis: SA close to meeting TB research funding targets, but most countries falling short

South Africa is one of only six countries to ever meet their “fair share target” for funding tuberculosis (TB) research, according to a new report. In absolute terms however, South Africa’s contribution is small change compared to investments into TB research made by the top two contributors, the United States government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what the report tells us about investment in TB research in South Africa.

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Baby in hospital crib

Antibiotic slashes risk of drug-resistant TB in kids, finds major SA study

Tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy has been transformed in recent years, with treatment duration having been cut from six or more months to just three or one. Progress in developing new treatments to prevent drug-resistant forms of TB has however lagged behind, especially in children. Elri Voigt unpacks findings from a major new TB prevention study presented at the Union World Conference on Lung Health last week and plans for another important preventive therapy trial set to start soon.

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TB activist Phumeza Tisile standing in front of posters that read "unmask stigma"

Interview: “Someone had to do it”, says SA TB activist on Time 100 list

At the age of 19 Phumeza Tisile contracted multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. For four years she battled the disease, losing her hearing in the process. At one stage, a doctor told her to visit a priest and prepare her soul for death. Recently, Tisile (now 33) made it on to TIME magazine’s 2023 TIME100 Next list, as one of 100 emerging leaders round the world who are “shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership”. Sue Segar chatted to Tisile about her remarkable journey.

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Interview: “I used that anger to feed my activist’s soul,” says former TAC General Secretary

In 2001, at age 22, Vuyiseka Dubula-Majola joined the Treatment Action Campaign in its fight to bring antiretrovirals to South Africa. Today, she walks the streets of Geneva in Switzerland to get to her job as head of the Global Fund’s community, rights and gender department. Biénne Huisman spoke with Dubula-Majola about her remarkable journey, balancing activism with diplomacy, and the struggle “to build and regain the dignity of poor people around the globe”.

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Woman in pink shirt that says HIV

Integrating HIV and NCD care is critical but not straight-forward, clinicians say

With the remarkable success of antiretroviral treatment people living with HIV in South Africa are generally living much longer than they did two decades ago. As a result, more people with HIV are also now living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension. Accordingly, the need to better integrate HIV and NCD services was a hot topic at the recent Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference in Cape Town. Elri Voigt reports.

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Woman in pink shirt that says HIV

Opinion: SA can’t afford proposed cuts to HIV funding

National Treasury has proposed a R1 billion cut to HIV funding. This has come about because – rather than seeing the reduced price of antiretroviral treatment as an opportunity to scale up treatment coverage and strengthen other interventions to address the HIV epidemic – the Department of Health has seen it as an opportunity for cost-containment. However, the HIV epidemic is not over and savings owing to cost reductions should not simply be returned to Treasury, argue Matshidiso Lencoasa and Mila Harding.

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Growing the beta variant – young scientist remembers the day they danced in the lab

During South Africa’s COVID-19 hard lockdown, rising star scientist Dr Sandile Cele spent his Christmas holidays in a laboratory. Soon the 35-year-old became the first to successfully grow the beta variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the lab. Biénne Huisman spoke to Cele about how he did this, the string of accolades he received since, and his leap from a modest upbringing to the global scientific stage.

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staff in operating theatre around operating table

Groote Schuur Hospital clears backlog of 1 500 surgeries

Much of South Africa’s public health sector is plagued by long waiting times for surgery, a situation that was made much worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, an inspiring project at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town has reached its target of slashing its backlog by 1 500 surgeries. Elri Voigt reports.

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South Africa has had an incomplete picture of the country's cancer burden, but a new patient-led cancer registry promises change. | @elri_voigt @SpotlightNSP

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana will deliver the national #Budget2024 on Wednesday. Will keeping government expenditure in check mean cuts on the health front? Read this insightful opinion piece published in December:
https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2023/12/01/opinion-sa-cant-afford-proposed-cuts-to-hiv-funding/ @SECTION27news

A patient-centred health system will remain an illusion under the NHI unless the public health system is ramped up to better serve users and a clear path is outlined for public-private partnerships, argue Bernard Mutsago & @haseenamajid. | @SpotlightNSP

Cancer patients and other members of the public now have an opportunity to contribute to improving the quality and completeness of #cancer data in South Africa. This follows the recent launch of a new patient-led cancer registry.

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The Spotlight Podcast
The Spotlight Podcast
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