In-depth: What government is doing to reduce medicines stockouts

In-depth: What government is doing to reduce medicines stockouts

Over the last decade, the National Health Department has rolled out a range of electronic surveillance systems to monitor medicine stocks throughout the country’s healthcare facilities, but stockouts persist due to a host of ongoing challenges. Jesse Copelyn takes a closer look at what is being done to ensure that our clinics and pharmacies do not run out of important medicines.

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Opinion: This court case will literally determine whether some people get to breathe

Opinion: This court case will literally determine whether some people get to breathe

A pivotal case for access to affordable medicines in South Africa is set to determine whether people in South Africa will be able to get access to breakthrough cystic fibrosis treatments. Aneesa Adams spent some time with a family living with cystic fibrosis to get a sense of what is at stake.

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In-depth: Breakthrough hepatitis C cures slowly becoming more widely available in South Africa

In-depth: Breakthrough hepatitis C cures slowly becoming more widely available in South Africa

Almost a decade after they were first proven to be safe and highly effective, game-changing medicines to cure hepatitis C are finally becoming more widely available in South Africa. But not all the regulatory and other challenges behind the delay have yet been overcome and, as a result, access remains relatively limited for now. Catherine Tomlinson 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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Rheumatology in SA: Patients pay the price for shortage of specialists

Rheumatology in SA: Patients pay the price for shortage of specialists

South Africa’s shortage of rheumatologists often results in patients struggling to access the treatment and care they need, especially for public sector patients and people living in rural areas. Elna Schütz asks several local experts about the state of rheumatology in the country.

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Interview: Cheri Nel, the investment banker from Joburg taking on pharma over cystic fibrosis medicines

Interview: Cheri Nel, the investment banker from Joburg taking on pharma over cystic fibrosis medicines

Johannesburg-based investment banker Cheri Nel is the driving force behind a court case that may result in dramatically expanded access to life-changing new cystic fibrosis (CF) medicines. Biénne Huisman asked Nel about the motivation behind the court case and what it is like to live with CF.

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In-depth: How cystic fibrosis is being treated in SA while breakthrough meds remain out of reach

In-depth: How cystic fibrosis is being treated in SA while breakthrough meds remain out of reach

Spotlight recently reported on a court case aimed at expanding access to breakthrough new treatments for cystic fibrosis (CF) and on how this debilitating disease is diagnosed in South Africa. Now, in Part 3 of this special series on CF, Catherine Tomlinson turns the spotlight on how the disease is currently being treated in the country, while the new treatments are still largely out of reach.

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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: New screening programme planned for cystic fibrosis in SA

In-depth: New screening programme planned for cystic fibrosis in SA

In recent weeks, cystic fibrosis (CF) has been in the headlines because of a court case about access to new treatments for the genetic condition. After having reported on the court case, Catherine Tomlinson now unpacks how CF is diagnosed in South Africa and why so many cases here fall through the cracks. The good news, she reports, is that efforts are underway to establish a national infant screening programme.

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Analysis: Landmark SA court case takes on US maker of cystic fibrosis drugs

Analysis: Landmark SA court case takes on US maker of cystic fibrosis drugs

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a debilitating and often deadly disease. Until recently, the only treatments for its symptoms were difficult to administer and time-consuming. Life-changing new treatments that dramatically improve the prognosis for people with the disease have been developed, but they are expensive and Vertex, the US company making the drugs, has decided against registering the drugs in South Africa. Cheri Nel, a woman living with CF, is now taking Vertex on in a South African court. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the details.

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In-depth: Some improvement but much more needed to address health needs of key populations

In-depth: Some improvement but much more needed to address health needs of key populations

Despite some improvement, the community-led monitoring group Ritshidze’s second report on key populations highlights that sex workers, people who use drugs and LGBTQIA+ community members are often still discriminated against when trying to access public health facilities. This can lead to treatment interruptions and some stopping their clinic visits. Nthusang Lefafa reports.

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Analysis: Why has the price of this cancer medicine risen and fallen by over a thousand percent since 2016?

Analysis: Why has the price of this cancer medicine risen and fallen by over a thousand percent since 2016?

Lenalidomide is an important medicine used for the treatment of multiple myeloma – a type of bone marrow cancer that is not curable and typically requires long-term, ongoing treatment. Over the last decade, the price of this drug has fluctuated dramatically in South Africa and patients and their doctors have gone to extreme lengths to access it. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the remarkable recent history of lenalidomide.

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