EDITORIAL: With elections and NHI, this is a big year for healthcare in SA

EDITORIAL: With elections and NHI, this is a big year for healthcare in SA

South Africa is barrelling towards its most consequential and most competitive national and provincial elections since 1994. Spotlight editor Marcus Low asks what is on the line in these elections from a healthcare perspective and argues that the stakes are particularly high when it comes to NHI and the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provincial health departments.

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Questions asked as Gauteng Health sources food from Limpopo

Questions asked as Gauteng Health sources food from Limpopo

The Gauteng Department of Health has struggled this year to ensure that patients in the province’s hospitals always have the food they need. Now a decision to source food for Gauteng hospitals via a government contract in Limpopo is raising eyebrows. Thabo Molelekwa reports.

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Mixed reactions over Gauteng jobs campaign and what it may mean for health

Mixed reactions over Gauteng jobs campaign and what it may mean for health

In June, the Gauteng government launched a major employment drive called Nasi iSpani. Thabo Molelekwa spoke to stakeholders in the public health sector about what this may mean for the province’s chronic healthcare worker shortages.

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Surgeries delayed at Charlotte Maxeke as key machine decommissioned before replacements are ready

Surgeries delayed at Charlotte Maxeke as key machine decommissioned before replacements are ready

Staff say patients at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in need of vascular surgery face a three-month wait for life-saving surgery because of what some staff are calling “fishy” operational management and bad planning. According to hospital management, however, patients will be diverted to other hospitals during this period. Ufrieda Ho reports.

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RIGHT OF REPLY: Reducing the surgical and cancer treatment backlogs is an urgent priority

RIGHT OF REPLY: Reducing the surgical and cancer treatment backlogs is an urgent priority

Following an article in Spotlight bemoaning “the lack of urgency” by the Gauteng Department of Health in addressing cancer and surgical backlogs despite having been allocated funds toward this, Dr Stephen Mankupane, Acting Head of Hospital Services in the provincial health department, writes that there is no disputing the fact that there is a need to act with urgency in attending to these backlogs and outlines what the department is doing. Here is his response in full.

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OPINION: Worrying lack of urgency as Gauteng Health sits on money earmarked to outsource urgent cancer treatment

OPINION: Worrying lack of urgency as Gauteng Health sits on money earmarked to outsource urgent cancer treatment

It is almost three months since – partly through the efforts of SECTION27 and Cancer Alliance – money was made available to the Gauteng Health Department to outsource radiation oncology services and address surgical backlogs in the province. It is deeply worrying that despite being provided with resources for this outsourcing project, very little has been done to date to ensure that patients get the long overdue care that they need, writes Khanyisa Mapipa.

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OPINION: Struggle for migrant health rights still far from over after landmark judgment 

OPINION: Struggle for migrant health rights still far from over after landmark judgment 

In a landmark court decision, the Gauteng High Court recently confirmed the rights of all pregnant and lactating women and children under age six to access services for free at all levels of care. The court order sets a good precedent for migrant health rights going forward, writes Mbali Baduza and Kholofelo Mphahlele as they explain the build-up to the court proceedings and why this is significant for re-affirming the right to access to healthcare for all in terms of section27 of the Constitution.

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Access to sufficient colostomy bags still hit-and-miss at Gauteng hospitals

Access to sufficient colostomy bags still hit-and-miss at Gauteng hospitals

Six months after Spotlight first reported on the plight of stoma patients experiencing shortages of colostomy and urostomy bags at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Gauteng, users are still reporting shortages at Baragwanath and other hospitals in the province. Thabo Molelekwa reports.

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In-depth: Ongoing security concerns at Gauteng hospitals amid reports of cable theft

In-depth: Ongoing security concerns at Gauteng hospitals amid reports of cable theft

Already bogged down by loadshedding, operations at various health facilities in Gauteng and a few other provinces have also been disrupted due to cable theft, creating another layer of risk for patients and healthcare workers. This is despite millions being paid for security at these health facilities. Thabo Molelekwa reports.

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Spotlight on Nehawu strike: Dispatches from the frontlines

Spotlight on Nehawu strike: Dispatches from the frontlines

Following a Labour Appeal Court judgement on Monday, health minister Dr Joe Phaahla during a media briefing on Monday night said the department has given essential health workers until Tuesday morning to report for work. Should they fail to do this, “they will be making themselves liable to charges of misconduct”. Spotlight reporters have been visiting healthcare facilities to assess the situation.

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Opinion: Patients to benefit from new funding and decision to let private sector help with Gauteng’s oncology backlog

Opinion: Patients to benefit from new funding and decision to let private sector help with Gauteng’s oncology backlog

On 8 March 2023, the Gauteng MEC for Finance delivered his budget speech in which he indicated that an amount of R784 million has been set aside for the provincial health department to “address backlogs in surgical and radiation oncology services” in Gauteng. Khanyisa Mapipa and Salomé Meyer reflect on the work done to get to this point.

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Progress in Charlotte Maxeke recovery, but HR and other problems persist

Progress in Charlotte Maxeke recovery, but HR and other problems persist

It is a race against the clock to keep to the timetable for repairs at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. This as Gauteng’s public healthcare needs mount and the challenges of alleged criminal activity and inefficiencies at the hospital persist. Ufrieda Ho reports.

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