Spotlight first interviewed physician and infectious diseases specialist Dr Arifa Parker in May last year as South Africa’s first wave of COVID-19 was building up. Eleven very difficult months later, Bienne Huisman checks in with Parker to hear how things are going on the frontlines at Tygerberg Hospital.
Even in ‘normal’ times a reliable supply of medical oxygen is an essential part of healthcare services, but during COVID-19 surges the need for this life-sustaining gas has spiked to unprecedented levels. Tiyese Jeranji explores the fascinating science and engineering that facilitates this substance’s long journey from a production plant to a person’s lungs.
A study published in the Lancet medical journal confirms that the health effects of COVID-19 can linger months after someone has ‘recovered’. Kathryn Cleary asked local experts about the underlying science and whether the South African public healthcare system is ready for so-called long-COVID.
People with COVID-19 and people with tuberculosis (TB) can experience similar symptoms such as coughing and breathing difficulties as both diseases affect the lungs. Exactly how these diseases affect the lungs, however, differs. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to a leading South African pulmonologist to learn more.
With chronic health worker shortages and limited resources such as ventilators in rural public health facilities, how did Zithulele Hospital in OR Tambo District manage its COVID-19 cases? Tiyese Jeranji spoke to two doctors working at Zithulele about an innovative oxygen solution, infection control, and much more.
How many people have actually died of COVID-19 in South Africa and what do we know about the possibility of a second wave? As the first, and hopefully the only, substantial wave of infections and death recedes, Spotlight Editor Marcus Low assesses the many remaining uncertainties.
While high-flow nasal oxygen has been one of the success stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not always enough. Sometimes more invasive mechanical ventilation is required. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to Professor Ross Hofmeyr on what mechanical ventilation entails and the measures his team at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town have employed to successfully manage these critical COVID-19 cases.
On July 22 Richard Abrahams, his wife, and three children celebrated his 65th birthday with orange cake and well-wishes. Less than a month before, Abrahams was struggling to breathe due to COVID-19 and receiving oxygen at Cape Town’s Hospital of Hope. He shared his story with Biénne Huisman.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the COVID-19 pandemic the gravest crisis in the country’s democratic history. Now, with the Western Cape and Gauteng making up nearly 64 percent of the country’s total confirmed infections, Kathryn Cleary asked departments of health in both provinces how prepared they are for the coming peak.
Doctors at two of the Western Cape’s most severely impacted COVID-19 hospitals say they have seen positive outcomes from using high-flow nasal oxygen instead of invasive mechanical ventilation. Kathryn Cleary asked doctors at these hospitals to explain how and why this kind of oxygen therapy works so well.