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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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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Hospital Histories: The many lives that started at Mowbray Maternity

Hospital Histories: The many lives that started at Mowbray Maternity

The modernist five-storey Mowbray Maternity Hospital sits on a swathe of Cape Town’s earliest contested colonial farm land, earmarked by Jan Van Riebeeck in 1657. Biénne Huisman visited the hospital to learn about its history and its continuing role in helping mothers and babies in the 21st century.

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Women in Health: Vaccine safety Prof on her passion for making a difference

Women in Health: Vaccine safety Prof on her passion for making a difference

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many committees and organisations were working around the clock to prepare the country for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Professor Hannelie Meyer, a pharmacist-turned-academic and later vaccine advocate, served on several of these committees. Elri Voigt spoke to Meyer about the pandemic, the mottos that guide her, and being an unapologetic workaholic.

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OPINION: We are short-changing women with budget cuts, corruption, and underspending in health

OPINION: We are short-changing women with budget cuts, corruption, and underspending in health

Though budget cuts impact the health system’s ability to provide quality services to the 85% of people in South Africa estimated to rely on public healthcare, women are doubly burdened by these cuts owing to their unequal reliance on public health services. Women have a disproportionate risk and prevalence of HIV/AIDS and more differentiated health needs, including those for reproductive and maternal health. This Women’s Month is an opportune moment to reflect on how much we spend on healthcare and the quality of that spending which can be powerful measures to help create a public healthcare system that narrows the gender gap, writes Matshidiso Lencoasa.

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Women in Health: Sr Wattie – the midwife from District Six who heeded the call to nurse and deliver

Women in Health: Sr Wattie – the midwife from District Six who heeded the call to nurse and deliver

For decades, most stories from Cape Town’s District Six started with – “I was born at Peninsula Maternity Hospital!” The Peninsula Maternity Hospital was established in 1921 as a training hospital specialising in midwifery. It closed down in 1992. On the day of its closure, a group of nurses climbed up to the hospital’s roof to take a last look at Table Mountain and the surrounds where they served so many. Among them was sister Patience Watlington, or Sr Wattie, as many referred to her. Biénne Huisman sat down with the 80-year-old nursing veteran as she reflected on life as a midwife in District Six.

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