Opinion: We can’t simply close dental facilities during the festive period

The closure of some public sector oral health clinics in the Eastern Cape over the festive period is deeply concerning, having left some patients with nowhere to go. A comprehensive plan must be put in place for efficient management and referral of emergency oral healthcare cases during this time and we must ensure that people who need the services are aware of how to access them, argues Dr Bulela Vava.

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In-depth: Can CO2 monitors help protect healthcare workers from TB?

A recent study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that there was an association between healthcare workers’ exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and their risk of being exposed to tuberculosis (TB). Elri Voigt unpacks the study’s findings and asks experts how CO2 monitors work, how well they predict the risk of TB exposure, and in which settings these monitors might be most useful.

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EDITORIAL: Government claims to value healthcare workers, its actions suggest it does not

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.

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In-depth: Surgery catch-up hamstrung by shortage of ICU nurses

Hospitals in South Africa have been put under immense strain over the past two years as beds were filled with COVID-19 patients and elective surgeries had to be put on hold. To make things worse, pre-existing shortages of intensive care trained nurses and other critical staff were exacerbated by healthcare workers themselves contracting SARS-CoV-2 and falling ill or having to isolate themselves. Tiyese Jeranji explores how Gauteng and the Western Cape are catching up on elective surgeries and asks what is being done about the underlying problem of staff shortages.

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Opinion: Transparency and action urgently needed on Eastern Cape staffing challenges

Shortages of doctors and nurses at hospitals in the Eastern Cape is a well-known systemic issue that creates serious challenges for access to quality healthcare. Attempts to access information on how the Provincial Department of Health is addressing or will address this have been unsuccessful, making it hard to hold the department accountable, writes Sibusisiwe Ndlela.

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COVID-19: Staying safe on (and off) the streets

Siyabonga Kamnqa visited shelters in Cape Town to chat to homeless people about their lives in the time of COVID-19 and under lockdown. He also asked government what they’ve done to assist and protect these vulnerable members of our society.

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