#InTheSpotlight | Diabetes is a leading killer in SA – yet we don’t know who has it or where they are

Diabetes is the second leading cause of death in South Africa after tuberculosis, according to Statistics South Africa. It is the leading cause of death in women. Yet, despite being a major driver of deaths and illness, we do not have a clear picture of how many people in the country have diabetes or how many people are receiving diabetes care. This leaves our health system ill-equipped to handle the growing diabetes crisis.

Read More

Analysis: Incentives seem to work in private healthcare, why not in public?

Doing ‘the right thing’ for one’s health, be it eating well, exercising, or going for an annual HIV test or blood pressure check, is easier said than done. One way to nudge people to make these ‘right’ decisions is to offer rewards or incentives. Amy Green asks whether aspects of some popular private-sector incentive schemes might be worth copying in South Africa’s public sector.

Read More

Analysis: Taking a spoon to a knife fight – Is SA ready for rising obesity rates?

Experts describe rising obesity rates in South Africa as an “urgent crisis”, “a tsunami” – even an “epidemic” – that is costing lives, not to mention billions of rands. Tackling the situation warrants an action plan that is as comprehensive and cogent as the problem is dire. But does the new national strategy fit the bill? Amy Green asked several local experts.

Read More

90-60-50: Can SA meet its diabetes targets, and would we know if we do?

Diabetes rates in South Africa are anticipated to keep rising in the coming years as the country’s health burden slowly shifts away from infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis toward non-communicable diseases. The relevant government strategy sets three key diabetes targets. Elri Voigt spoke to several local experts about these targets and South Africa’s prospects of meeting them.

Read More

In-depth: Major SAMRC study sheds light on causes of disease and death in SA

Unsafe sex, interpersonal violence, high body mass index, high systolic blood pressure, and alcohol consumption are the top risk factors for disease and death in South Africa, according to the Second Comparative Risk Assessment study conducted by the South African Medical Research Council’s Burden of Disease Research Unit. Nthusang Lefafa spoke to some of the researchers to unpack the findings.

Read More

Health in the Eastern Cape: New plans to get chronic medicines to people in rural areas

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.

Read More

In-depth: Does SA have a diabetes testing problem?

Though the numbers are relatively uncertain, it is estimated that between four and five million people in South Africa are living with diabetes. One reason for the uncertainty is a lack of testing. A lack of testing also means that many people get diagnosed too late in the course of the disease. Elri Voigt asks what we do and do not know about diabetes in the country and what should be done about it.

Read More