A humanist with an unblinking gaze – Professor Ntobeko Ntusi takes the hot-seat at the South African Medical Research Council

A humanist with an unblinking gaze – Professor Ntobeko Ntusi takes the hot-seat at the South African Medical Research Council

Professor Ntobeko Ntusi may be softspoken, but he is not afraid to stand by his strongly held views. As he is set to take up the hot-seat at the country’s primary health research funder, he tells Spotlight’s Biénne Huisman about his background and his priorities for the new job.

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Comfortable with chaos: ‘Head cowboy’ Dr Shaheem de Vries takes charge of Groote Schuur Hospital

Comfortable with chaos: ‘Head cowboy’ Dr Shaheem de Vries takes charge of Groote Schuur Hospital

From Antarctica to Haiti, to red zones in Cape Town, Dr Shaheem de Vries is accustomed to getting his hands dirty while saving lives. He tells Spotlight’s Biénne Huisman about the new challenges he faces as CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital.

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What we can learn about TB at the autopsy table

What we can learn about TB at the autopsy table

In addition to shedding light on what people actually die of, autopsies can also play an important role in helping us to better understand disease. Tiyese Jeranji unpacks tuberculosis-related autopsy research in the Western Cape and delves into some of the fascinating complexities of this branch of TB research.

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Pilot project in SA now offering HIV prevention injection

Pilot project in SA now offering HIV prevention injection

A new HIV prevention injection is now available to a select number of people in South Africa. That a single shot provides two months of protection is one of the injection’s major selling points. In this story, Elri Voigt unpacks how much of the jab is available, who is choosing to get it and what other anti-HIV drugs are being rolled out.

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Probing mysteries of the dead: Top forensic pathologist looks back as Cape Town gets shiny new mortuary

Probing mysteries of the dead: Top forensic pathologist looks back as Cape Town gets shiny new mortuary

Mortuaries are grim places, yet Professor Lorna Martin – South Africa’s first woman to head a forensic medicine department – also visits mortuaries when she is on holiday. She was born in Newcastle in the United Kingdom and matriculated at a school in Boksburg on Gauteng’s East Rand. Martin, who has wispy hair and eyes with a glint of steel, spoke to Biénne Huisman about her career working on headline-catching cases and the nearly-R300 million Observatory Forensic Pathology Institute in Cape Town.

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Orthopaedic surgery: What is behind SA’s long waiting lists?

Orthopaedic surgery: What is behind SA’s long waiting lists?

As of last year, there were 3 449 people waiting on orthopaedic surgery in five of South Africa’s nine provinces. Waiting times in these five provinces ranged from two weeks to over five years. In the Eastern Cape, it can take up to ten years for people to get specific types of orthopaedic surgery. Tiyese Jeranji looks at the numbers and unpacks what it means for healthcare workers and people waiting for orthopaedic surgery.

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In-depth: Mental health needs of GBV survivors are not being met – what to do?

In-depth: Mental health needs of GBV survivors are not being met – what to do?

Survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence (GBV) often require mental healthcare services to deal with the psychological trauma, but these services are often not available in already overburdened shelters and safe houses where resources are limited. Sue Segar visited some shelters and spoke to experts about this unmet need for women and children.

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Women in health: “No one taught me how to treat a sick system,” says leading young Professor

Women in health: “No one taught me how to treat a sick system,” says leading young Professor

In high school, a guidance councillor told Salome Maswime that she would never be accepted at medical school. Today, she is a professor and head of Global Surgery at the University of Cape Town. Biénne Huisman chatted to Maswime about her work on safe surgery, her remarkable career, and being the only black woman in the room.

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Groote Schuur Hospital clears backlog of 1 500 surgeries

Groote Schuur Hospital clears backlog of 1 500 surgeries

Much of South Africa’s public health sector is plagued by long waiting times for surgery, a situation that was made much worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, an inspiring project at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town has reached its target of slashing its backlog by 1 500 surgeries. Elri Voigt 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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In-depth: Why only some public sector patients can access a key breast cancer drug

In-depth: Why only some public sector patients can access a key breast cancer drug

A potentially life-saving or life-extending breast cancer medicine is available to public sector patients in several of South Africa’s provinces, but not in the Western Cape. Elri Voigt asks what is behind the Western Cape government’s decision.

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Women in Health: Lydia Cairncross, the straight-talker at the helm of Groote Schuur’s surgery recovery project

Women in Health: Lydia Cairncross, the straight-talker at the helm of Groote Schuur’s surgery recovery project

Head of general surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital, Professor Lydia Cairncross is a sharp thinker and straight talker. Whether it is on issues of equity and social justice or on how to strengthen quality healthcare – Cairncross speaks her mind. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to her as part of Spotlight’s Women in Health series.

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