Why affirming treatment for gender questioning youth matters in SA

Why affirming treatment for gender questioning youth matters in SA

Gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth has sparked intense debate globally. In South Africa, we need to significantly improve accessibility throughout the country, ensure services are well-resourced, include trained healthcare providers skilled in gender affirming care, and offer comprehensive care that integrates mental health and social services, write Jenna-Lee de Beer-Procter and Pierre Brouard, on behalf of fellow board members of the Professional Association for Transgender Health South Africa.

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HIV treatment for kids has improved and there is more to come, says Dr Moherndran Archary

HIV treatment for kids has improved and there is more to come, says Dr Moherndran Archary

Dr Moherndran Archary’s research has helped shape South African health policy, most notably the rollout of better HIV treatments for children and babies. Spotlight’s Biénne Huisman chatted to him about the state of HIV treatment for kids and some exciting prospects on the horizon.

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The Cass Review provides guidance on gender-affirming care: SA’s medical community is now at a crossroads

The Cass Review provides guidance on gender-affirming care: SA’s medical community is now at a crossroads

The question as to the best approach to providing care for children and young people with gender dysphoria or gender incongruence is complex, contested, and controversial, both in South Africa and globally. Following the release of a major new report in the United Kingdom, it is clear that a change of course is needed in South Africa, argue doctors Janet Giddy, Allan Donkin, and associate professor Reitze Rodseth.

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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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Hospital Histories: The many lives that started at Mowbray Maternity

Hospital Histories: The many lives that started at Mowbray Maternity

The modernist five-storey Mowbray Maternity Hospital sits on a swathe of Cape Town’s earliest contested colonial farm land, earmarked by Jan Van Riebeeck in 1657. Biénne Huisman visited the hospital to learn about its history and its continuing role in helping mothers and babies in the 21st century.

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Breastfeeding while hungry – Is enough being done to support mothers in the Free State?

Breastfeeding while hungry – Is enough being done to support mothers in the Free State?

Earlier this month the world celebrated breastfeeding week. To improve infant nutrition by 2025, the United Nations set targets to eliminate malnutrition and increase breastfeeding rates to at least 50% – targets that South Africa also subscribes to. In South Africa, however, often mothers are poor, unemployed, and hungry – all factors impacting their ability to breastfeed and, ultimately, the nutrition their babies receive. As Women’s Month draws to a close, Refilwe Mochoari looked at the nuances of this challenge in the Free State, where mothers often face a litany of socio-economic challenges and asks how government can support these mothers better.

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In-depth: Children are still dying of malnutrition in the Free State

In-depth: Children are still dying of malnutrition in the Free State

Even in 2023, infants under five years in the Free State are still dying from a lack of healthy food. From April to June this year, 21 children in the province died of severe acute malnutrition and one died of moderate acute malnutrition. Refilwe Mochoari unpacks the numbers and asks government about its plans to address what at least one expert is calling a ‘crisis’.

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SA AIDS 2023: New treatments and guidelines to benefit kids, with more advances on the horizon

SA AIDS 2023: New treatments and guidelines to benefit kids, with more advances on the horizon

The 11th SA AIDS conference, recently held in Durban, highlighted the worrying fact that key HIV numbers such as treatment coverage are much lower in children than in adults. But as Elri Voigt reports, conference delegates also heard about new treatments and guidelines that will make life easier for kids and the exciting potential of several new long-acting experimental treatments.

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Hospital histories: 151 years later, the drumming of little feet at Brooklyn Chest Hospital

Hospital histories: 151 years later, the drumming of little feet at Brooklyn Chest Hospital

In 1984, the then-head of Brooklyn Chest TB Hospital, Dr David Jenkin lamented inadequate services for TB patients, writing that “it is unflattering to realize that only war and pestilence appear able to bring more beds for TB sufferers”. Almost 40 years later, despite major scientific advances, TB hospitals like Brooklyn Chest remain important for treating complicated forms of the disease, where specialised healthcare staff can monitor medication interactions and side-effects. Biénne Huisman takes a look back at the hospital’s 151-year history and the difference it is making in the lives of children with TB today.

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Antibiotic-resistant bugs claim over 200 000 infants globally per year, finds major study

Antibiotic-resistant bugs claim over 200 000 infants globally per year, finds major study

A landmark global observational study found that many neonates get life-threatening bloodstream infections, or sepsis, and are dying because the antibiotics used to treat them are not effective. Sepsis affects up to 3 million babies a year globally and the study authors estimate that 214 000 newborns die every year from sepsis that has become antibiotic resistant – mainly in low- to middle-income countries. Adele Baleta reports.

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In-depth: Are measles, mumps, and diphtheria outbreaks harbingers of worse to come?

In-depth: Are measles, mumps, and diphtheria outbreaks harbingers of worse to come?

So far this year the National Institute for Communicable Diseases has issued reports on three different outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases – measles, mumps, and diphtheria. Elri Voigt spoke to local experts about these outbreaks and what it tells us about the country’s immunisation programme and the potential for future outbreaks.

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