EDITORIAL: With elections and NHI, this is a big year for healthcare in SA

South Africa is barrelling towards its most consequential and most competitive national and provincial elections since 1994. Spotlight editor Marcus Low asks what is on the line in these elections from a healthcare perspective and argues that the stakes are particularly high when it comes to NHI and the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provincial health departments.

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Mabuyane under fire for moving Eastern Cape head of health

Some health activists and health professionals this week slammed as disruptive and nonsensical Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s decision to ‘second’ the head of health in the province, Dr Rolene Wagner, to a special unit in his office. Many have expressed concern over the impact this may have on providing health services, but Mabuyane insists his decision will not impact service delivery. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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Concerns raised at public health conference over freezing of healthcare worker posts

The National Treasury’s Cost Containment Letter sent to government departments instructing, among others, the freezing of posts was one of the big themes underlying talks about building South Africa’s healthcare worker capacity at the Public Health Association of South Africa’s conference held recently in Gqeberha. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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In-depth: What two major bills might mean for health sector procurement in SA

Between South Africa’s Public Procurement Bill and the National Health Insurance Bill, health sector procurement in the country is set for a major shake-up – all as a landmark court decision recently reaffirmed the Constitutional imperative that public procurement must be conducted in a transparent way. Alicestine October takes a deep dive into the accelerating currents of procurement reform.

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Mixed responses to Gauteng Health’s latest security plans

Following reports of healthcare workers who have been robbed, assaulted, or killed in public healthcare facilities in Gauteng, the province’s health department announced that healthcare workers will now be trained to handle patients who become violent. Thabo Molelekwa looked at what these safety plans entail and asked health worker organisations for their views.

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Opinion: HIV investments remain no-brainers, but some things need to change

HIV in South Africa is not the crisis it was 20 years ago, and the country faces a growing burden of non-communicable diseases, but specific investments in HIV nevertheless continue to offer excellent value for money for governments and donors alike. As people gather for the 2023 International AIDS Society Conference in Brisbane, Australia, Marcus Low argues that while funding for HIV interventions remains absolutely essential, it is also critical for the future of the HIV response and people living with HIV that HIV should now be better integrated with other healthcare services, especially those for diabetes and hypertension.

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Mpumalanga health department responds to latest clinic monitoring findings

According to the latest report from community-based clinic monitoring group Ritshidze, users of public sector health facilities in Mpumalanga are experiencing shorter waiting times, cleaner facilities, and extended antiretroviral refills compared to previous years. But Ritshidze also reports ongoing staff shortages, problematic staff attitudes, and problems with infrastructure. Nthusang Lefafa unpacks the new findings and asks the province’s health department what they are planning in response.

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Despite undertakings, still no permanent head of health in Northern Cape

The Northern Cape Department of Health has for the last three years only had acting heads of department. Despite undertakings from the Office of the Premier last year and again earlier this year that an appointment will be made soon, the department still has no permanent head, something that has opposition political parties and some unions up in arms. Refilwe Mochoari reports.

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Analysis: 21 months later, what progress has Wagner made in the Eastern Cape?

For years, the Eastern Cape Department of Health has made the headlines, often for the wrong reasons. From rat-infested hospitals to newborn babies dying in overcrowded and understaffed wards – such challenges have persisted for decades. Luvuyo Mehlwana looked at what has changed since Dr Rolene Wagner took office and asks if heading this department is a poisoned chalice regardless of who is at the helm.

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Face to face: “It’s not about me, it’s about the patient that I’m helping”, says head of trauma at Bara

Professor Rudo Mathivha became director of the Intensive Care Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in July 1999, holding her own in a white male-dominated space. Biénne Huisman chatted with Mathivha about her impressive journey, her deep commitment to patients, and the ongoing challenges at the country’s largest hospital.

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