Face to Face: Prof Helen Rees on SAHPRA, women’s rights, and her appetite for justice

Face to Face: Prof Helen Rees on SAHPRA, women’s rights, and her appetite for justice

As a rebellious teenager growing up in the British town of Harpenden, Professor Helen Rees would sneak out to attend anti-apartheid talks. Today, she is a renowned scientist and chair of South Africa’s medicines regulator. Biénne Huisman chatted to Rees about her career, prioritising women’s reproductive health, and her role at the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.

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Opinion: Mental health screening for people with TB will change lives and boost SA’s TB response

Opinion: Mental health screening for people with TB will change lives and boost SA’s TB response

According to some estimates, over a third of tuberculosis (TB) patients have high levels of psychological distress and a quarter have an alcohol use disorder. Following an eye-opening project in KwaZulu-Natal, Atlantic Institute Tekano Fellow Amanda Fononda argues that a diagnosis of an illness (such as TB) should be accompanied by mental health screening for treatment readiness, adherence, and overall well-being.

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Face to face: “Everything about health is about behaviour”, says Professor Mosa Moshabela

Face to face: “Everything about health is about behaviour”, says Professor Mosa Moshabela

Receiving the Public Health Association’s annual PHILA award recently is one of a string of accolades Professor Mosa Moshabela, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has under his belt. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about his journey to becoming a doctor and his deep-seated commitment to public health, health innovation, and improving health systems.

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Breathing easier: How Madwaleni Hospital started producing its own oxygen

Breathing easier: How Madwaleni Hospital started producing its own oxygen

During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, oxygen was a lifesaving consumable, but in many remote rural areas of the Eastern Cape, logistical challenges such as poor roads and long distances made distribution difficult. A group of doctors and engineers, however, developed a sustainable lifeline in the form of an oxygen generator at Madwaleni Hospital. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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Construction and maintenance delays plague ‘ideal hospital’ in Kroonstad

Construction and maintenance delays plague ‘ideal hospital’ in Kroonstad

Some healthcare services at Boitumelo Regional Hospital in Kroonstad are hamstrung by construction delays, poor maintenance, and water shortages – despite the hospital being classified as one of the Free State’s ‘ideal hospitals’. Refilwe Mochoari investigates.

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Digital X-rays boosting TB diagnosis, assessment finds

Digital X-rays boosting TB diagnosis, assessment finds

Many people with tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa are never diagnosed or are diagnosed only once their symptoms have become quite severe. One solution to diagnosing more people more quickly is the expanded use of new digital X-ray technology. Now, an independent assessment of digital X-ray pilot projects in six districts in South Africa sheds light on how well this intervention works in the real world. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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Opinion: Better data is first step in improving services for persons with disabilities

Opinion: Better data is first step in improving services for persons with disabilities

South Africa ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2007 – but the data needed to track the implementation of the convention in South Africa is often incomparable across sectors, of low quality, or completely lacking. This limits civil society’s ability to hold the government accountable and makes it impossible to ensure equity for marginalised groups in how government plans, budgets, and implements services, argues Rural Rehab South Africa’s outgoing chair, Maryke Bezuidenhout.

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Women in Health: Dr Angela Hartwig – a torchbearer for rural health

Women in Health: Dr Angela Hartwig – a torchbearer for rural health

At one stage during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Angela Hartwig was the only doctor at Adelaide Hospital in the Eastern Cape. She also fell ill while pregnant and working, and ended up in a COVID-ward. Despite the challenges the pandemic dished out to health facilities and health workers, especially in rural areas like Adelaide, she remains passionate about rural health. Bienne Huisman spoke to her as part of Spotlight’s Women in Health series.

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Opinion: World has reached another turning point in the fight against HIV

Opinion: World has reached another turning point in the fight against HIV

The world stands at an inflection point once more in the war against HIV. For those of us working in the field in South Africa, especially, it feels eerily like the battle that was fought 25 years ago, writes Dr Liesl Page-Shipp.

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COVID-19: Benefits of vaccines still far outweigh risks, experts say

COVID-19: Benefits of vaccines still far outweigh risks, experts say

The benefits of approved COVID-19 vaccines still far outweigh the risks, experts say following a recently reported death in South Africa linked to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Adele Baleta reports.

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Poor vaccine coverage risks measles outbreak, experts say

Poor vaccine coverage risks measles outbreak, experts say

A recently published survey found that only 76.8% of children surveyed have received all their required childhood vaccines. Elri Voigt unpacks the survey findings and asks whether a recent measles outbreak in Gauteng may be a harbinger of worse outbreaks to come.

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