OPINION: 2022’s health budget decisions in review

Health budgets have the power to advance access to healthcare for millions of people in South Africa. This year, however, as the health sector and the economy recovered from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a volatile global environment, the South African government missed opportunities to provide the financial resources to protect access to healthcare for the most vulnerable. Matshidiso Lencoasa unpacks how the past year’s budget choices will affect key public health services.

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Analysis: How well did SAHPRA do in 2022?

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has often made the headlines in recent years – be it in relation to COVID-19 vaccines, access to ivermectin, the approval of an HIV prevention injection, or most recently the clearing of inherited backlogs. Catherine Tomlinson assesses the state of South Africa’s medicines regulator as 2022 draws to a close.

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KwaZulu-Natal doing well compared to other provinces but some health services still a challenge

KwaZulu-Natal clinics are outperforming facilities monitored in other provinces on various indicators and health services in the province have improved year-on-year, but some marginalised groups continue to have a hard time accessing healthcare services. This is according to the latest provincial report from community-led monitoring project Ritshidze. Nthusang Lefafa spoke to several NGOs about the findings and asked the province’s health department for their response.

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Face to Face: Prof Helen Rees on SAHPRA, women’s rights, and her appetite for justice

As a rebellious teenager growing up in the British town of Harpenden, Professor Helen Rees would sneak out to attend anti-apartheid talks. Today, she is a renowned scientist and chair of South Africa’s medicines regulator. Biénne Huisman chatted to Rees about her career, prioritising women’s reproductive health, and her role at the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.

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Opinion: Mental health screening for people with TB will change lives and boost SA’s TB response

According to some estimates, over a third of tuberculosis (TB) patients have high levels of psychological distress and a quarter have an alcohol use disorder. Following an eye-opening project in KwaZulu-Natal, Atlantic Institute Tekano Fellow Amanda Fononda argues that a diagnosis of an illness (such as TB) should be accompanied by mental health screening for treatment readiness, adherence, and overall well-being.

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Face to face: “Everything about health is about behaviour”, says Professor Mosa Moshabela

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.

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Breathing easier: How Madwaleni Hospital started producing its own oxygen

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.

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OPINION: Mid-term budget fails to show the way to a more resilient recovery

The Medium-term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) was tabled amid a grim global economic outlook and a climate of increasing political uncertainty, electricity supply challenges, and very high unemployment. Russell Rensburg argues the MTBPS fails to provide a credible path toward a resilient recovery and sets out what can be done to strengthen governance and build social solidarity around the recovery we need.

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