The top priority in our HIV programme should be to make it as easy as possible for people to start and stay on treatment. Yet, as a number of provincial reports released this year by community monitoring group Ritshidze have shown, there are many healthcare system factors that work directly against this objective. Spotlight editor Marcus Low considers some of the potential solutions.
To combat COVID-19, our country has been able to move millions of people through vaccination sites each month, creating a potential ‘one-stop shop’ for vital health check-ups. In this, healthcare workers have an unprecedented opportunity to reach people they may not otherwise have access to, such as those living with HIV, writes Dhirisha Naidoo.
If South Africa wants to strengthen the prevention arm of its HIV programme, which it definitely should, providing comprehensive sex education in schools and training teachers to deliver this curriculum will be vital. It is important that the HIV/AIDS Life Skills Grant, as one of the key pieces of a broader HIV prevention strategy, be supported and strengthened, argue Mbali Baduza and Julia Chaskalson.
Although a new community healthcare monitoring report notes some improvement in filling vacancies at Gauteng clinics, concerns remain over staff shortages and the impact this has on providing quality care, especially to people living with HIV. Thabo Molelekwa reports.
Pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer recently announced early results from clinical trials showing that two new antiviral medicines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisation. The Medicines Patent Pool then announced licensing deals with both companies that will allow for generic versions of the two drugs to be produced. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the licenses and asks whether generic versions of these pills might now be made in Africa.
Professor Lynette Denny of the University of Cape Town recently received the Order of the Baobab, the country’s highest accolade for citizen excellence. Bienne Huisman spoke to her about her ground-breaking research in cervical cancer prevention, her own ongoing struggle with cancer, and the enrichment she has found in being of service.
A UNAIDS report published earlier this year estimates that just under 4.5 million men and boys accessed voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) services in South Africa by the end of 2019 with 47% of these having been performed from 2016 to 2019. Thabo Molelekwa reports on the impact COVID-19 has had on VMMCs and the challenges related to resuming this service in the country.
In 2014, South Africa launched an HPV vaccination campaign targeting 9-year-old public school learners in Grade 4. It involves delivering two doses of vaccine six months apart. Laura Owings asks how the campaign is going and what recent real-world HPV vaccine effectiveness data from the United Kingdom might mean for South Africa.
Mental health does not have its own ring-fenced budget and given huge inefficiencies in our mental health spending, we need to be strategic on where and how we spend the little we have. Alicestine October unpacks what a new government-commissioned mental health investment case framework can mean for access to equitable and quality mental health services in the country.
Findings from a study conducted in Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape show the prevalence of stunting among children younger than five for that area was 24%. Luvuyo Mehlwana unpacks the findings and the plans the provincial health department has in place to address the risk factors driving stunting among children in the Eastern Cape.
While KwaZulu-Natal is doing comparatively well on key HIV indicators, the public healthcare system in the province is plagued by staff shortages, long waiting times, poor tuberculosis infection control, and in some cases, dysfunctional filing systems. This is according to a new report from community-led monitoring group Ritshidze. Elri Voigt reports.
In recent years there have been various reports with damning findings on the state of mental healthcare services in the Eastern Cape. Luvuyo Mehlwana and Alicestine October assess what has and what hasn’t changed after recommendations from the Public Protector, the Health Ombud, the PSC, and the HSRC, and almost as many undertakings in response by the Eastern Cape Department of Health.