On a scorching summer day, Siyabonga Kamnqa sat down to listen to the stories of some frustrated gogos and mkhulus waiting to collect their chronic medicines at the busy All Saints Hospital in the rural town of Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape. He then asked the province’s health department about its plans for getting medicines to people in rural areas.
While it is still unclear what caused the fire at the Christiana Hospital in the North West last week, residents are concerned about what this means for their health needs. Millions of rands’ worth of infrastructure upgrades were destroyed by a fire that left a big part of the hospital in ruins. Nthusang Lefafa reports.
Having to collect one’s medicines at overcrowded public sector clinics with long queues can be time-consuming, disruptive, and, these days, may expose one to a risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Thabo Molelekwa takes stock of South Africa’s centralised chronic medicines dispensing and distribution programme, the Department of Health’s system for allowing more people to collect their chronic medicines closer to their homes or workplaces.
By Friday, looting, rioting, and violence in parts of KwaZulu-Natal left shops and pharmacies empty and vandalised, warehouses burnt to the ground, and many lives lost. Sandile Duma and Leslie Mudzudza report on the impact on health services.
While South Africa is doing well on some of the UNAIDS HIV targets for 2020, one target we are set to miss is ensuring that 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are on antiretroviral therapy. Partly in response to this problem, the ‘Welcome back’ campaign started by Doctors without Borders aims to make it easier for people who have stopped taking treatment to restart. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Pharmacists do much more than stand behind a counter dispensing medicine. These professionals have a key role to play in the health care system and the overall well-being of people. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to a community pharmacist and pharmacists in the public health sector to understand their role and the challenges they face.
Under COVID-19 lockdowns in South Africa and elsewhere, many public services have been interrupted, including sexual and reproductive health services. Thuthukile Mbatha considers the heavy toll these interruptions have taken on people’s lives.
Already at an increased risk of serious COVID-19 illness, older persons in poor communities face an additional set of difficulties in staying safe and healthy. Siyabonga Kamnqa spoke to older people, experts, civil society organisations and government authorities on what can be done to protect older people.
Reports of drug shortages and stock-outs across South Africa have the Department of Health in a race against the clock to ensure a supply of essential medicines. With manufacturing operations around the world still facing issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is battling to meet the demand for contraceptives, tuberculosis medicines and psychiatric medicines.
Four provinces have made positive moves to announce that patients on chronic medicines will be able to have their scripts filled for as long as three or four months in order to minimise their exposure to possible COVID-19 infection in public spaces like clinics.