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.
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.
Fiery nurse activist Fikile Dikolomela-Lengene says she has had a front-row seat to corruption unfolding in Gauteng’s public health sector and she is not afraid to speak out. Biénne Huisman chatted to Dikomela-Lengene, who calls herself ‘Sr Fikx’ because she wants to influence change in the public health sector.
Earlier this year, Spotlight published a two-part series on the human cost of surgery waiting times and asked what could be done about it. One such solution proposed by some is to devolve less complicated surgical care procedures to district hospitals. The AfroSurg3 Conference held in September, which brought together surgical stakeholders from 11 African countries to improve access to care, shed some light on how this might work. Alicestine October reports.
The position of MEC for Health in Gauteng is one of the most important, and probably one of the toughest jobs in public sector health governance in South Africa. Spotlight sent ten questions to the new Gauteng MEC for Health Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko. Here are her answers.
The resignation of renowned breast cancer specialist surgeon Professor Carol-Ann Benn from the Helen Joseph Hospital has fuelled concerns about the loss of expertise for the public health sector amid existing pressures on cancer services in Gauteng. Ufrieda Ho spoke to health authorities, patients, and breast clinic volunteers about the potential impact on cancer care at the hospital.
Several provincial health departments have stumbled from crisis to crisis over the last decade with no sign of sustained or meaningful improvement. One reason for this, argues Spotlight editor Marcus Low, is political interference and the cadre deployment and cronyism that usually goes with it. If this is correct, is it realistic to think we can address the dysfunction in our health departments without addressing the politics behind it?
A recently published report by the community-led clinic monitoring project, Ritshidze shows that while there have been pockets of improvements at some clinics in the Free State, there are key issues on which facilities’ performance has worsened, especially for people living with HIV. Refilwe Mochoari unpacks the report’s findings zooming in on the situation at Bloemspruit Clinic in Mangaung.
In South Africa, a newly qualified professional nurse often has great difficulties when entering the clinical practice after completion of their studies. By applying a preceptorship model, newly qualified nurses may experience a positive transition period, improving their clinical competence, argues Warriodene Hansen.
South Africa ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2007 – but the data needed to track the implementation of the convention in South Africa is often incomparable across sectors, of low quality, or completely lacking. This limits civil society’s ability to hold the government accountable and makes it impossible to ensure equity for marginalised groups in how government plans, budgets, and implements services, argues Rural Rehab South Africa’s outgoing chair, Maryke Bezuidenhout.
It is estimated that around half of medical negligence claims against the South African government are cerebral palsy-type claims. Apart from the direct impact on infants and families, cerebral palsy thus also has a major impact on health budgets. In this second article in a two-part series, Elri Voigt asks what can be done to reduce the incidence of cerebral palsy in the country. In part 1 we looked at what we know about cerebral palsy in South Africa.
The headline-making persecution of paediatrician Dr Tim de Maayer is part of a wider trend whereby principled public sector healthcare workers are often abandoned to the whims of managers who are vindictive, incompetent, or both. Add the slow movement on South Africa’s healthcare worker policy, the poor management of the Health Professions Council, and the short shrift given to healthcare workers’ concerns about National Health Insurance, and the picture that emerges makes a mockery of government’s talk of valuing healthcare workers.