For businesses and households that can afford it, solar panels and batteries offer a way to keep the lights on during South Africa’s ongoing bouts of loadshedding. Such technologies may also offer a solution for healthcare facilities, where a reliable energy supply can be a matter of life and death. Nthusang Lefafa spoke to stakeholders and experts in the public and private health sectors about the promise of solar energy to mitigate the impact of loadshedding on health services.
Spending on public sector infrastructure over the 2023 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) is estimated at R903 billion and the health sector accounts for 5% of this. The well-documented poor maintenance and oversight of projects, also in the health sector, will require close monitoring of trends across the public sector, particularly where procurement and contracting is concerned, writes Zukiswa Kota.
Budgets, while important, are not the right mechanism to drive the structural change needed to improve the responsiveness of our public health system in meeting the needs of the population. But, argues Russel Rensburg, we can reorient the health system towards meeting the health needs of the population and then let the budget bolster the reforms. Here he provides some suggestions on how to go about it and contrasts that with the budget announced by Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana this week.
The quest for access to equitable and quality surgical care for all will not be won only in board rooms, theatres, or hospital corridors. We have to take this quest into communities and build alliances. In that respect, we can learn from one of the best examples of how community participation and mobilisation can help change health policy – the movement to ensure access to affordable and universal anti-retroviral treatment for persons living with HIV, argues Professor Kathryn Chu and Sangeun Lee.
In July this year temperatures in some parts of the Free State dropped as low as minus 8 degrees Celsius while in some hospitals patients were told to bring their own blankets or brace the cold without. Although the provincial health department denies any linen and blanket shortages, Refilwe Mochoari found patients who say otherwise.
The Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape is in the grips of a severe drought. Public health facilities in the metro have been hit hard with some having to close or reduce the number of people they attend to. Authorities say measures are in place to prevent a complete standstill. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
There is nothing humans can do about the fact that everyone dies eventually, but there may be room to do better when it comes to how some doctors, nurses, and care workers break the news of dying and death; and also how they give practical support to a grieving family. Ufrieda Ho looks at what measures are in place to guide healthcare workers, patients, and their families through this process in health facilities.
Qwaqwa, situated in the Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality is close to the Sterkfontein Dam, which is one of the four biggest dams in the country. Yet, hospitals and clinics in and around Qwaqwa have for years struggled with dirty water, dry taps, and constant water interruptions. Refilwe Mochoari reports.
Outbreaks of hospital-acquired infections such as Klebsiella have claimed the lives of infants and made headlines on a number of occasions over the last decade. Tiyese Jeranji looks at how the germs involved spread, how common these infections are, and what can be done to prevent outbreaks.
As the third wave of COVID-19 infections continues in Gauteng, hospitals remain under severe strain due to staff and equipment shortages. Add to this the ongoing unrest in certain areas in Gauteng, and it makes for a very grim picture. Thabo Molelekwa reports on the situation in East Rand hospitals.
For Dr Yakub Essack, a GP in Gauteng, the long workdays have become even longer as GPs become a vital pillar for managing COVID-19 patients in their homes for as long as possible to free up hospital beds during Gauteng’s third wave. Ufrieda Ho reports.
Rates of Serious Adverse Events that result in unintended harm to patients are disturbingly high in Gauteng public hospitals. Thabo Molelekwa spoke to health activists and government to see what is at the root of these risks to patient safety and what is done to curb it.