Stigma, lack of awareness holding back use of HIV prevention pills, experts say

Stigma, lack of awareness holding back use of HIV prevention pills, experts say

Over the last four years South Africa has taken large strides in making HIV prevention pills available at public sector clinics, but uptake has not been as good as some may have hoped. Thabo Molelekwa asks several experts why this might be.

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New TB drug shows promise, but experimental vaccine disappoints

New TB drug shows promise, but experimental vaccine disappoints

While three new tuberculosis (TB) medicines have been registered in South Africa over the last decade, TB treatment still comes with several side effects and requires taking multiple different medicines, typically for six or more months. The search for better TB medicines got a boost last week with the presentation of promising findings from a study conducted in South Africa on an experimental drug called quabodepistat. Elri Voigt reports on this and other TB studies presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Denver, Colorado.

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A year after a damning report, some green shoots at Rahima Moosa Hospital

A year after a damning report, some green shoots at Rahima Moosa Hospital

Spotlight visits Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital and sees progress for the struggling hospital but also the reality that there’s a long road ahead to undo what a health ombud report suggests has been years of neglect and poor management.

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Health Budget 2024 fails to address poverty-related health issues and build trust for NHI – SAMRC

Health Budget 2024 fails to address poverty-related health issues and build trust for NHI – SAMRC

The 2024 national budget offer some glimmers but allocations for direct health benefits fall short of making a difference to people’s health and wellbeing. These include a ring-fenced allocation to crack down on corruption in health to inspire trust for the National Health Insurance, taxing accessories for e-cigarettes, a jacked up child-support grant, clarity on plans dealing with climate change and its impacts on human health, and finally greater investment to enhance women’s capabilities alongside the Covid-19 grant, researchers from the South African Medical Research Council write exclusively for Spotlight.

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In-depth: What government is doing to reduce medicines stockouts

In-depth: What government is doing to reduce medicines stockouts

Over the last decade, the National Health Department has rolled out a range of electronic surveillance systems to monitor medicine stocks throughout the country’s healthcare facilities, but stockouts persist due to a host of ongoing challenges. Jesse Copelyn takes a closer look at what is being done to ensure that our clinics and pharmacies do not run out of important medicines.

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Opinion: This court case will literally determine whether some people get to breathe

Opinion: This court case will literally determine whether some people get to breathe

A pivotal case for access to affordable medicines in South Africa is set to determine whether people in South Africa will be able to get access to breakthrough cystic fibrosis treatments. Aneesa Adams spent some time with a family living with cystic fibrosis to get a sense of what is at stake.

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In-depth: Breakthrough hepatitis C cures slowly becoming more widely available in South Africa

In-depth: Breakthrough hepatitis C cures slowly becoming more widely available in South Africa

Almost a decade after they were first proven to be safe and highly effective, game-changing medicines to cure hepatitis C are finally becoming more widely available in South Africa. But not all the regulatory and other challenges behind the delay have yet been overcome and, as a result, access remains relatively limited for now. Catherine Tomlinson reports.

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RIGHT OF REPLY: Reducing the surgical and cancer treatment backlogs is an urgent priority

RIGHT OF REPLY: Reducing the surgical and cancer treatment backlogs is an urgent priority

Following an article in Spotlight bemoaning “the lack of urgency” by the Gauteng Department of Health in addressing cancer and surgical backlogs despite having been allocated funds toward this, Dr Stephen Mankupane, Acting Head of Hospital Services in the provincial health department, writes that there is no disputing the fact that there is a need to act with urgency in attending to these backlogs and outlines what the department is doing. Here is his response in full.

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Rheumatology in SA: Patients pay the price for shortage of specialists

Rheumatology in SA: Patients pay the price for shortage of specialists

South Africa’s shortage of rheumatologists often results in patients struggling to access the treatment and care they need, especially for public sector patients and people living in rural areas. Elna Schütz asks several local experts about the state of rheumatology in the country.

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Interview: Cheri Nel, the investment banker from Joburg taking on pharma over cystic fibrosis medicines

Interview: Cheri Nel, the investment banker from Joburg taking on pharma over cystic fibrosis medicines

Johannesburg-based investment banker Cheri Nel is the driving force behind a court case that may result in dramatically expanded access to life-changing new cystic fibrosis (CF) medicines. Biénne Huisman asked Nel about the motivation behind the court case and what it is like to live with CF.

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In-depth: How cystic fibrosis is being treated in SA while breakthrough meds remain out of reach

In-depth: How cystic fibrosis is being treated in SA while breakthrough meds remain out of reach

Spotlight recently reported on a court case aimed at expanding access to breakthrough new treatments for cystic fibrosis (CF) and on how this debilitating disease is diagnosed in South Africa. Now, in Part 3 of this special series on CF, Catherine Tomlinson turns the spotlight on how the disease is currently being treated in the country, while the new treatments are still largely out of reach.

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Access to sufficient colostomy bags still hit-and-miss at Gauteng hospitals

Access to sufficient colostomy bags still hit-and-miss at Gauteng hospitals

Six months after Spotlight first reported on the plight of stoma patients experiencing shortages of colostomy and urostomy bags at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Gauteng, users are still reporting shortages at Baragwanath and other hospitals in the province. Thabo Molelekwa reports.

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