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.
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.
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.
The reopening of the oncology section of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital on Monday 28 June 2021 offers a glimmer of hope for cancer patients in South Gauteng but the stark reality is that many will still not be able to access lifesaving treatment immediately, writes Salomé Meyer.
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.
Over the last few years reported cases of congenital syphilis in South Africa have increased. This, accompanied by little or lack of notification, makes its management a challenge. Tiyese Jeranji reports on what congenital syphilis is, its management as well as gaps in management.
Six years after the Life Esidimeni tragedy, an inquest into the circumstances under which more than a thousand psychiatric patients were moved into the care of NGOs and about 144 died, is set to start in the North Gauteng High Court in July. Meanwhile, some mental health NGOs and activists maintain that the Gauteng Department of Health is still short-changing mental health services. Thabo Molelekwa reports.
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.
Over 30% of those living in South Africa have experienced a depressive, anxiety, or substance use disorder in their lifetime, according to a national survey. Yet studies show only 15% of those with mental health conditions receive treatment. Laura Owings explores what role community healthcare workers can play in addressing this lack of access to care.
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.
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.