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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EDITORIAL: With elections and NHI, this is a big year for healthcare in SA

EDITORIAL: With elections and NHI, this is a big year for healthcare in SA

South Africa is barrelling towards its most consequential and most competitive national and provincial elections since 1994. Spotlight editor Marcus Low asks what is on the line in these elections from a healthcare perspective and argues that the stakes are particularly high when it comes to NHI and the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provincial health departments.

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In-depth: A tale of two make-do clinics in the rural Eastern Cape

In-depth: A tale of two make-do clinics in the rural Eastern Cape

The state of the Macacuma Clinic and the Ugie Clinic in the Eastern Cape came under the spotlight during the provincial legislature’s health committee visit from 10 to 14 October last year, when they visited several public health facilities in the Joe Gqabi District. Luvuyo Mehlwana recently went back to assess whether there has been any progress at the two facilities since the committee made its findings public.

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OPINION: New research and implementing lessons from COVID-19 are key to SA’s future TB intervention plans   

OPINION: New research and implementing lessons from COVID-19 are key to SA’s future TB intervention plans  

COVID-19 has pushed back our progress on tuberculosis, but we can claw back our gains when we work collaboratively and efficiently, writes Kelvin Vollenhoven and Neetha Morar.

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Smart pill box can help with TB treatment, but it’s not for everyone

Smart pill box can help with TB treatment, but it’s not for everyone

Tuberculosis (TB) can be cured, but completing TB treatment can sometimes be difficult. Treatment takes a minimum of six months and some of the medicines have side effects – especially those used to treat drug-resistant forms of TB. Tiyese Jeranji asks what role smart pill boxes could play in helping people complete TB treatment.

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COVID-19: Binning of jabs a ‘shocking indictment’ of vaccination campaign, says health expert

COVID-19: Binning of jabs a ‘shocking indictment’ of vaccination campaign, says health expert

COVID-19 vaccine doses destined to be binned next month are “a shocking indictment” and questions need to be asked about just how effective the country’s vaccination drive has been, some public health experts say. Ufrieda Ho reports.

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Questions raised over functionality of Eastern Cape clinic committees

Questions raised over functionality of Eastern Cape clinic committees

In recent years damning findings from the Public Protector, the Human Rights Commission, the Public Service Commission, and the community-led monitoring group Ritshidze have been piling up against the Eastern Cape Department of Health. Luvuyo Mehlwana asks what value clinic committees and hospital boards can add to help improve public healthcare services in the province.

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Opinion: The new health system we build through the NHI must be green

Opinion: The new health system we build through the NHI must be green

The recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape showed us how climate change harms people’s health and healthcare services. On the other hand, modern health care systems contribute to climate change through large greenhouse gas emissions. In the development of South Africa’s National Health Insurance system we have an opportunity to address both these sides of the challenge that climate change poses for health systems, argues Dr Louis Reynolds of the People’s Health Movement SA.

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North West: Long distances, medicines stockouts, and Mediosa busses gathering dust

North West: Long distances, medicines stockouts, and Mediosa busses gathering dust

Hours waiting for emergency medical services, medicine shortages, high travel costs, and long walking distances to clinics. These are some of the issues rural communities in the North West face when trying to access healthcare services. Meanwhile, expensive mobile clinics purchased from the Gupta-linked Mediosa are gathering dust. Nthusang Lefafa spoke to community members in some of these rural communities and the provincial health authorities.

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Opinion: SA’s TB recovery doesn’t necessarily need a bigger budget, just reprioritisation

Opinion: SA’s TB recovery doesn’t necessarily need a bigger budget, just reprioritisation

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has stymied the progress of the tuberculosis response across the world, the call for increased investment is important. Although health programmes can always do with more financial assistance, in South Africa, for its TB Recovery Plan to work, the focus should be on the strategic use of existing resources, argues Russell Rensburg.

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In-depth: How a Cape Town company made an mRNA vaccine and what happens next

In-depth: How a Cape Town company made an mRNA vaccine and what happens next

In January, Cape Town-based biotechnology company Afrigen Biologics announced that it has successfully produced a lab-scale batch of a mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 that is similar to that made by pharmaceutical company Moderna. Catherine Tomlinson takes an in-depth look at how Afrigen managed to reach this point and what further challenges have to be overcome before mRNA vaccines can be produced at scale in South Africa

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