Confusion over healthcare worker contracts in the Eastern Cape

Confusion over healthcare worker contracts in the Eastern Cape

Thousands of healthcare contract workers in the Eastern Cape Department of Health face an uncertain future over the continued extension of their contracts. This follows two conflicting decisions on ending contracts of workers roped in February last year to help in the fight against COVID-19 in the province. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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Interview: Acting Free State Health head on his plans for the department

Interview: Acting Free State Health head on his plans for the department

On 20 May Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela announced that Godfrey Mahlatsi will replace then head of the province’s health department Dr David Motau in an acting capacity. Refilwe Mochoari asked Mahlatsi about his plans for a department that has seen its fair share of controversy over the years.

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Alcohol bans had greater impact than curfews, study finds

Alcohol bans had greater impact than curfews, study finds

New research published in the South African Medical Journal has found compelling evidence that a blanket ban on alcohol reduces the number of unnatural deaths related to trauma injuries while curfews have less of an impact. Adele Baleta spoke to lead author, Professor Tom Moultrie.

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COVID-19: “When will it end? I wish it would happen tomorrow” – Gauteng GP

COVID-19: “When will it end? I wish it would happen tomorrow” – Gauteng GP

For Dr Yakub Essack, a GP in Gauteng, the long workdays have become even longer as GPs become a vital pillar for managing COVID-19 patients in their homes for as long as possible to free up hospital beds during Gauteng’s third wave. Ufrieda Ho reports.

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COVID-19: Eight common questions answered about the Delta variant

COVID-19: Eight common questions answered about the Delta variant

The new and more contagious Delta variant has now surpassed the Beta variant to become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in South Africa. Laura Lopez Gonzalez pulled together answers to eight common questions asked about this new variant.

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OPINION: Excluding foreign nationals undermines the vaccine rollout 

OPINION: Excluding foreign nationals undermines the vaccine rollout 

Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and undocumented people are estimated to make up around 4 million of the people living in South Africa. That is nearly 7% of the country’s total population yet there is still no clarity on the process to register and vaccinate undocumented people.

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COVID-19: Will vaccinated people in South Africa need booster shots?

COVID-19: Will vaccinated people in South Africa need booster shots?

The two vaccines used in South Africa’s vaccination programme, those from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech, have both been shown to be highly effective against COVID-19, particularly in preventing hospitalisation and death. But protection may wane over time and new variants may or may not render these vaccines less effective. Adele Baleta unpacks what we do and do not know about the potential need for booster shots and surveys some of the studies that will help fill the gaps.

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In-depth: How can we improve ventilation to prevent COVID-19 and TB?

In-depth: How can we improve ventilation to prevent COVID-19 and TB?

Ventilation plays an important role in preventing the transmission of airborne diseases but currently, ventilation standards for buildings are focused on preventing odours in spaces, instead of preventing disease transmission. Elri Voigt spoke to two experts about the role of ventilation in the transmission of airborne diseases such as tuberculosis and COVID-19 and what can be done to improve ventilation in buildings.

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High hopes for deal to unlock local COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

High hopes for deal to unlock local COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

On Monday President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will host the first World Health Organization-backed COVID-19 mRNA vaccine Technology Transfer Hub – an initiative designed to get the production of mRNA vaccines off the ground in Africa. Parties involved in the hub expect to hear as early as next week whether pharmaceutical companies with mRNA COVID-vaccines for COVID-19 on the market – Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech – will share their know-how with the hub. Chris Bateman reports for Spotlight.

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COVID-19: Free State in third wave with old problems, health workers say

COVID-19: Free State in third wave with old problems, health workers say

By 16 June, the National Department of Health’s statistics showed the Free State has recorded 108 515 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4 612 deaths with 94 761 recoveries. Now, with the province caught in a third wave, healthcare workers say they still stuck with old problems from the previous two waves.

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Editorial: Government should explain plans in wake of J&J setback

Editorial: Government should explain plans in wake of J&J setback

Jabs from Johnson & Johnson were central to plans to scale up South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. With news that a first consignment of two million doses cannot be used, it is critical that government play open cards with the public about its revised vaccination plans and timelines and what steps it is taking to procure more vaccines faster.

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COVID-19: A frontline view of vaccination efforts in the rural Eastern Cape

COVID-19: A frontline view of vaccination efforts in the rural Eastern Cape

By 13 June official statistics from the Department of Health showed 382 255 people 60 years and older in the Eastern Cape registered for COVID-19 vaccination. So far, 114 661 of them received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Luvuyo Mehlwana visited some rural areas to see how registration and vaccination are going.

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