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

Opinion: 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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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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Clinical associates praised at rural health conference, but questions remain over government backing

Clinical associates praised at rural health conference, but questions remain over government backing

South Africa faces chronic healthcare worker shortages and the country’s Human Resources for Health Strategy 2030 has warned of an impending healthcare worker crisis. The shortages are particularly acute in some rural areas. One part of the solution that was the talk of the recently held Rural Health Conference, is to employ more clinical associates. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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Interview: “The only good TB bacillus is a dead one”, says UCT’s Prof Valerie Mizrahi

Interview: “The only good TB bacillus is a dead one”, says UCT’s Prof Valerie Mizrahi

Professor Valerie Mizrahi, a world-leading tuberculosis researcher and director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town, is retiring at the end of the year. Biénne Huisman sat down with Mizrahi to talk about her journey in TB research, passing the baton to a new generation of researchers, and how she helped build a research ecosystem that brings together specialists across the basic, clinical, and public health sciences.

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Concerns raised at public health conference over freezing of healthcare worker posts

Concerns raised at public health conference over freezing of healthcare worker posts

The National Treasury’s Cost Containment Letter sent to government departments instructing, among others, the freezing of posts was one of the big themes underlying talks about building South Africa’s healthcare worker capacity at the Public Health Association of South Africa’s conference held recently in Gqeberha. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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