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.
According to the latest report from community-based clinic monitoring group Ritshidze, users of public sector health facilities in Mpumalanga are experiencing shorter waiting times, cleaner facilities, and extended antiretroviral refills compared to previous years. But Ritshidze also reports ongoing staff shortages, problematic staff attitudes, and problems with infrastructure. Nthusang Lefafa unpacks the new findings and asks the province’s health department what they are planning in response.
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.
For years, the Eastern Cape Department of Health has made the headlines, often for the wrong reasons. From rat-infested hospitals to newborn babies dying in overcrowded and understaffed wards – such challenges have persisted for decades. Luvuyo Mehlwana looked at what has changed since Dr Rolene Wagner took office and asks if heading this department is a poisoned chalice regardless of who is at the helm.
In a landmark court decision, the Gauteng High Court recently confirmed the rights of all pregnant and lactating women and children under age six to access services for free at all levels of care. The court order sets a good precedent for migrant health rights going forward, writes Mbali Baduza and Kholofelo Mphahlele as they explain the build-up to the court proceedings and why this is significant for re-affirming the right to access to healthcare for all in terms of section27 of the Constitution.
People in South Africa are used to reports of organisations like Gift of the Givers stepping in during humanitarian emergencies, or service delivery NGOs assisting with HIV or tuberculosis programmes. But is there not a risk of the state becoming overly dependent on NGOs, and might this not mask state failure and thereby undermine democratic accountability? Sue Segar explores this question with the help of some high-profile NGO leaders.
The Free State has a new Health MEC – Mathabo Leeto, who is also provincial treasurer of the ANC in the province. She recently replaced Montseng Tsiu. Refilwe Mochoari spoke to Leeto about her plans for the department and asked opposition parties and nursing unions about this move and their expectations for health services in the Free State.
Conversations with young people about sex can lead to safer sexual behaviour, like delayed sexual debut, the use of condoms and other contraceptives, and having fewer concurrent sexual partners but we need to give learners and young people clear and reliable information so that they can make informed choices relating to their health, writes Julia Chaskalson.
Receiving the Public Health Association’s annual PHILA award recently is one of a string of accolades Professor Mosa Moshabela, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has under his belt. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about his journey to becoming a doctor and his deep-seated commitment to public health, health innovation, and improving health systems.
During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, oxygen was a lifesaving consumable, but in many remote rural areas of the Eastern Cape, logistical challenges such as poor roads and long distances made distribution difficult. A group of doctors and engineers, however, developed a sustainable lifeline in the form of an oxygen generator at Madwaleni Hospital. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
Fiery nurse activist Fikile Dikolomela-Lengene says she has had a front-row seat to corruption unfolding in Gauteng’s public health sector and she is not afraid to speak out. Biénne Huisman chatted to Dikomela-Lengene, who calls herself ‘Sr Fikx’ because she wants to influence change in the public health sector.
The resignation of renowned breast cancer specialist surgeon Professor Carol-Ann Benn from the Helen Joseph Hospital has fuelled concerns about the loss of expertise for the public health sector amid existing pressures on cancer services in Gauteng. Ufrieda Ho spoke to health authorities, patients, and breast clinic volunteers about the potential impact on cancer care at the hospital.