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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Health services in the Eastern Cape: What changed since the last elections?

Health services in the Eastern Cape: What changed since the last elections?

Luvuyo Mehlwana looks back at the performance of public healthcare services in the Eastern Cape over the last five years – a term characterised by leadership instability, infrastructure problems, financial short-falls, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Some people still sidelined at health facilities – how do we fix it?

Some people still sidelined at health facilities – how do we fix it?

Nthusang Lefafa looks at the latest Ritshidze report for key populations and speaks to some public healthcare experts about possible solutions to challenges facing those marginalised groups who carry a high burden of the HIV pandemic.

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Stigma, lack of awareness holding back use of HIV prevention pills, experts say

Stigma, lack of awareness holding back use of HIV prevention pills, experts say

Over the last four years South Africa has taken large strides in making HIV prevention pills available at public sector clinics, but uptake has not been as good as some may have hoped. Thabo Molelekwa asks several experts why this might be.

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Patient-centred health care: The NHI revolution you deserve

Patient-centred health care: The NHI revolution you deserve

A patient-centred health system will remain an illusion under the NHI unless the public health system is ramped up to better serve users and a clear path is outlined for public-private partnerships, argue Bernard Mutsago and Haseena Majid.

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We can’t simply close dental facilities during the festive period

We can’t simply close dental facilities during the festive period

The closure of some public sector oral health clinics in the Eastern Cape over the festive period is deeply concerning, having left some patients with nowhere to go. A comprehensive plan must be put in place for efficient management and referral of emergency oral healthcare cases during this time and we must ensure that people who need the services are aware of how to access them, argues Dr Bulela Vava.

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Childhood exposure to violence associated with mental health conditions later in life, experts say

Childhood exposure to violence associated with mental health conditions later in life, experts say

That South Africa has unusually high levels of inter-personal violence is clear from the country’s crime statistics and regular news reports about violent crime. The knock-on effects on the mental health of people in the country are, however, less easy to quantify. Thabo Molelekwa reports on local research showing an association between exposure to violence in childhood and mental health problems later in life.

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Interview: Rural doctor of the year reflects on the rutted road to quality healthcare 

Interview: Rural doctor of the year reflects on the rutted road to quality healthcare 

Describing the rutted gravel road between Butterworth and Tafalofefe District Hospital in the Eastern Cape, Dr Bukiwe Spondo uses the word “terrible” at least eighteen times. Biénne Huisman caught up with Spondo, who was recently named rural doctor of the year, to chat about the many challenges of delivering quality healthcare services in South Africa’s rural areas.

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Interview: A simple device used after birth can help save lives, says award-winning young innovator

Interview: A simple device used after birth can help save lives, says award-winning young innovator

As a child growing up in Uganda, Maureen Etuket used a screwdriver to dismantle electronic appliances and toy trucks. Now, a PhD candidate in Industrial Engineering, this curiosity has been driving her quest to find solutions to public healthcare challenges. Last month, she won the Mandela Rhodes Foundation’s award for social impact in Africa for a device that can help save the lives of women who suffer excessive bleeding after child birth. Bienne Huisman chatted with her about the device, medical innovation in Africa, and finding one’s purpose in this challenging field.

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Mabuyane under fire for moving Eastern Cape head of health

Mabuyane under fire for moving Eastern Cape head of health

Some health activists and health professionals this week slammed as disruptive and nonsensical Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s decision to ‘second’ the head of health in the province, Dr Rolene Wagner, to a special unit in his office. Many have expressed concern over the impact this may have on providing health services, but Mabuyane insists his decision will not impact service delivery. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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Hospital histories: Sizwe, where lives have been saved since Joburg’s earliest days

Hospital histories: Sizwe, where lives have been saved since Joburg’s earliest days

For the past 128 years, a hospital tucked away on what was once a rural farm in Johannesburg East has been fighting to turn the tables on a disease that has plagued humankind for millennia. Ufrieda Ho has the latest in Spotlight’s special series of ‘Hospital Histories’.

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Interview: “There’s so much respiratory disease and there’s so much to be done,” says leading paediatrics Prof

Interview: “There’s so much respiratory disease and there’s so much to be done,” says leading paediatrics Prof

For decades, Professor Heather Zar has been at the cutting edge of research into the health of children in South Africa. Last month she received the European Respiratory Society’s lifetime achievement award in paediatrics. Biénne Huisman chatted to Zar about her career, the remarkable Drakenstein Child Health Study, and the urgent need to ensure access to new RSV vaccines in Africa.

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