Reimagining health in the Eastern Cape: A dysfunctional public health system is not inevitable

Reimagining health in the Eastern Cape: A dysfunctional public health system is not inevitable

The persistent challenges in public health in the Eastern Cape, highlight the critical role of leadership. Prof Helen Schneider argues if we are to reimagine a future of access, equity and justice in health and health care in the Eastern Cape, we need bottom-up institution-building involving civil society and not just top-down legislative, budgetary and other reforms.

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When kids go hungry: What happens when school meals stop?

When kids go hungry: What happens when school meals stop?

For over 9 million learners across the country, school meals are a lifeline, but this came to a grinding halt during the hard COVID-19 lockdown period. As a result, many learners became dependent on soup kitchens and donations. In the fourth part of a six-part series on child hunger and nutrition, Kathryn Cleary speaks to learners about how they were affected and how some organisations are fighting for improvements.

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Reimagining health in the Eastern Cape: CHWs are key to improving health outcomes

Reimagining health in the Eastern Cape: CHWs are key to improving health outcomes

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are an important element in the government’s re-engineering of primary health care strategy. Here Melanie Alperstein and Tinashe Njanji highlight the challenges CHWs in the Eastern Cape face and offer some solutions to improve the working conditions of CHWs and improve health outcomes in the province.

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When kids go hungry: Fighting for solutions in the ECD sector

When kids go hungry: Fighting for solutions in the ECD sector

Early childhood development programmes have a huge role to play in the lives of young children, including in their nutrition. In the third part of a six-part series on child hunger, Kathryn Cleary investigates the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on these programmes, and how some organisations are fighting for solutions.

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Eastern Cape government mum on TB plans and numbers

Eastern Cape government mum on TB plans and numbers

Numbers from the National Institute of Communicable Disease and from some provinces show that TB diagnoses have dropped dramatically in 2020 – likely due to COVID-19 and the related lockdown. The Eastern Cape Department of Health has however declined to share information on the TB situation in the province and their catch-up plans. Some activists are concerned about the situation. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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When kids go hungry: One young man’s struggle for food and love in Sun City

When kids go hungry: One young man’s struggle for food and love in Sun City

Food is not the only thing needed to end child hunger and malnutrition. Another invisible nutrient is love. In the second of a six-part series focussing on child hunger, Kathryn Cleary speaks to a 19-year-old about his battle against the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty in the Eastern Cape.

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When kids go hungry: A frontline perspective on treating child malnutrition

When kids go hungry: A frontline perspective on treating child malnutrition

After more than 16 years at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, Shihaam Cader and her team have helped to treat and rehabilitate thousands of malnourished children. Kathryn Cleary chatted to Cader for the first part of a six-part special series on child hunger in South Africa.

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Better spending can improve emergency medical services in Eastern Cape

Better spending can improve emergency medical services in Eastern Cape

Much has been reported on alleged corruption and governance failures in the Eastern Cape Health department that have devastating consequences for health services to those most in need. This is also true for inadequate Emergency Medical Services in the province. Nontsikelelo Mpulo and Thokozile Mtsolongo argue that solutions to the province’s EMS woes should start with improved spending of available budgets.

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COVID-19: Innovating and adapting at Zithulele Hospital

COVID-19: Innovating and adapting at Zithulele Hospital

With chronic health worker shortages and limited resources such as ventilators in rural public health facilities, how did Zithulele Hospital in OR Tambo District manage its COVID-19 cases? Tiyese Jeranji spoke to two doctors working at Zithulele about an innovative oxygen solution, infection control, and much more.

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Dire conditions at Mthatha General and Nessie Knight hospitals

Dire conditions at Mthatha General and Nessie Knight hospitals

The dire state of health infrastructure and services in the Eastern Cape has made headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic and triggered promises of government intervention, but in some hospitals those providing and receiving healthcare note little to no improvement. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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OP-ED: Underpaid and Unprotected -The case for supporting Community Health Workers

OP-ED: Underpaid and Unprotected -The case for supporting Community Health Workers

If we are serious about Universal Health Care, we need to match the commitment shown by community health workers (CHWs). Not only must their contribution to the pandemic response be adequately recognised, but CHWs deserve a say in health policymaking and implementation that affects them, the authors argue.

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IN PICTURES: The making of a public health time bomb: Just (don’t) add water

IN PICTURES: The making of a public health time bomb: Just (don’t) add water

On the ground in the Eastern Cape and from recent proceedings in parliament, it seems clear that there is a water management crisis in the OR Tambo District – a crisis with public health implications beyond just COVID-19.

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