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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Clinical associates praised at rural health conference, but questions remain over government backing

South Africa faces chronic healthcare worker shortages and the country’s Human Resources for Health Strategy 2030 has warned of an impending healthcare worker crisis. The shortages are particularly acute in some rural areas. One part of the solution that was the talk of the recently held Rural Health Conference, is to employ more clinical associates. Tiyese Jeranji 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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Women in Health: Sr Wattie – the midwife from District Six who heeded the call to nurse and deliver

For decades, most stories from Cape Town’s District Six started with – “I was born at Peninsula Maternity Hospital!” The Peninsula Maternity Hospital was established in 1921 as a training hospital specialising in midwifery. It closed down in 1992. On the day of its closure, a group of nurses climbed up to the hospital’s roof to take a last look at Table Mountain and the surrounds where they served so many. Among them was sister Patience Watlington, or Sr Wattie, as many referred to her. Biénne Huisman sat down with the 80-year-old nursing veteran as she reflected on life as a midwife in District Six.

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The good doctor: Mark Blaylock on finding meaning back at Manguzi

In December 2008, Dr Mark Blaylock left South Africa after a high-profile spat with then-Health MEC of KwaZulu-Natal Peggy Nkonyeni. The affair was sparked by Blaylock’s colleague Colin Pfaff being charged with misconduct for sourcing funding for antiretroviral drugs for pregnant women living with HIV. Four years later, Blaylock was back at Manguzi District Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. Sue Segar chatted to Blaylock about his years outside of South Africa, returning to Manguzi, and how healthcare in KwaZulu-Natal has changed over the years.

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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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Feature: The complexities of traditional and medical circumcision in the Eastern Cape

While most male circumcisions performed in the Eastern Cape are done in the traditional manner, there are also significant numbers of medical male circumcisions being conducted. Siyabonga Kamnqa reports on this year’s winter initiation season in the province and the complex interplay between culture, safety, and protection against HIV involved in deciding between the two types of circumcision.

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#WhatItsLike: Top forensic pathologist on his career at the autopsy table

Attending the Forensic DNA Symposium recently held in Cape Town where the vital role of DNA analysis in criminal investigations was highlighted, Sue Segar caught up with Professor Ryan Blumenthal, a senior specialist forensic pathologist at the University of Pretoria. Blumenthal was one of the speakers. He told her more about bearing first-hand witness to death and its causes at the autopsy table and what this can tell us about the society we live in.

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