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.
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 and Haseena Majid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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