Opinion: A look at new abortion guidelines

Opinion: A look at new abortion guidelines

The new national clinical guidelines for the implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act serve as an opportunity to strengthen services in providing much-needed clarity and guidance to health workers. Marion Stevens and Nozizwe Conco unpack these guidelines on International Safe Abortion Day.

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COVID-19: Is SA vaccinating enough older persons to protect against possible fourth wave?

COVID-19: Is SA vaccinating enough older persons to protect against possible fourth wave?

Just 54% of people in South Africa over the age of 50 have received at least one COVID-19 jab, with significant variation between provinces, as experts warn of the possibility of another wave of COVID-19 in future. Chris Bateman reports.

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Interview: Kenneth Jacobs, new chair of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health

Interview: Kenneth Jacobs, new chair of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health

Dr Kenneth Jacobs was elected chairperson of the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Health last month. Biénne Huisman chatted to Jacobs about National Health Insurance, the role of Parliament, working with the Stormers rugby team, and his own background and journey to serving as chair of such an important parliamentary committee.

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In-depth: The incredibly long wait for gender-affirming surgery for those who can’t pay

In-depth: The incredibly long wait for gender-affirming surgery for those who can’t pay

Already very long waiting times for gender-affirming surgery in South Africa’s public sector have gotten even longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tiyese Jeranji investigates the challenges transgender persons in the country face in accessing gender-affirming care.

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Editorial: HIV prevention injection should be fast-tracked like COVID-19 vaccines

Editorial: HIV prevention injection should be fast-tracked like COVID-19 vaccines

Findings of two large phase III clinical trials first presented in 2020 showed a new HIV prevention injection to be highly effective. Yet, experts expect that the injection will only reach clinics in late 2022 or early 2023. If the rhetoric about bringing the urgency of COVID-19 to HIV is to mean anything, these timelines should be made shorter.

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COVID-19: Clearer picture of long COVID slowly emerging

COVID-19: Clearer picture of long COVID slowly emerging

The first long COVID study conducted in South Africa found that 82% of patients still had persistent or new symptoms a month after their discharge from hospital. However, much is still unknown about what exactly causes this and how to alleviate the suffering, which is becoming an increasing health burden across the globe. Elsabé Brits surveyed the latest evidence and asked local experts to place it in context.

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In-depth: Mental health needs of children falling through the cracks, experts say

In-depth: Mental health needs of children falling through the cracks, experts say

Globally it is estimated that around one in five to one in ten children and adolescents are affected by mental health disorders. In South Africa, the numbers are highly uncertain, particularly at provincial level, where hardly any data is being gathered. Research suggests that a lack of intersectoral collaboration has resulted in children falling through the cracks – so much so that one expert now says South Africa is completely unable to meet the mental health needs of its children. Tiyese Jeranji investigates.

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In-depth: What happens to people in SA who have rare diseases?

In-depth: What happens to people in SA who have rare diseases?

Little is known about the number of people in South Africa who are living with rare diseases. In fact, there is no recognised definition for rare disease in the country, contributing to inadequate record-keeping and very little data on prevalence, treatment options, and support structures. Laura Owings reports.

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In-depth: What will it take to bring HIV prevention injections to SA’s clinics?

In-depth: What will it take to bring HIV prevention injections to SA’s clinics?

An antiretroviral injection administered every two months has been shown to be highly effective in preventing people from getting HIV in two large trials. Catherine Tomlinson asks what needs to happen before these injections become available to people in South Africa.

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We need to vaccinate 90% of over-35s – Madhi

We need to vaccinate 90% of over-35s – Madhi

Government can avoid the overwhelming of health services and minimise death in an anticipated fourth COVID-19 wave in November/December by getting 90% of people in South Africa over 35 years old vaccinated before then. Life could then return to normal by Christmas, even with ongoing SARS-CoV-2 circulation, contends vaccinologist Professor Shabir Madhi.

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How well is SA’s chronic medicines distribution system working?

How well is SA’s chronic medicines distribution system working?

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.

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Medicines stockouts once again reported in North West

Medicines stockouts once again reported in North West

Stockouts of essential medicines have been a problem in North West province for years. Now, a new community monitoring report suggests many people are still being turned away from public sector clinics without treatment or asked to come back a week later. Thabo Molelekwa spoke to the people behind the report and asked the North West Department of Health for their response to it.

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