For years, the Eastern Cape Department of Health has made the headlines, often for the wrong reasons. From rat-infested hospitals to newborn babies dying in overcrowded and understaffed wards – such challenges have persisted for decades. Luvuyo Mehlwana looked at what has changed since Dr Rolene Wagner took office and asks if heading this department is a poisoned chalice regardless of who is at the helm.
Antibiotics play a vital role in the management of bacterial infections, reducing illness, and preventing many deaths. A 2011 report from the UK estimated that they have increased life expectancy by 20 years. However, the extensive use of antibiotics has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse their life-saving power and if the situation is not reversed, it has been estimated that by 2050 as many as 10 million people will die annually of drug-resistant infections. Tiyese Jeranji looks at how antimicrobial resistance plays out in South Africa and the role of pharmacists in the fight against it.
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.
South Africa’s fifth wave of COVID-19 infections was comparatively small and is already abating. As with the fourth wave, infection was much less likely to result in hospitalisation or death than in the first three waves. In light of these changes in the pandemic, Aisha Abdool Karim asks what the “new normal” should look like when it comes to mask-wearing, ventilation, hand sanitising, and other preventive measures.
The number of newborn babies dying from neonatal sepsis is rising as the antibiotics used to treat them are not working effectively, a landmark international study has found. Adele Baleta reports on the findings and their implications for newborns in South Africa.
Wieda Human, Ingrid Schoeman, Ruvandhi Nathavitharana, Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen, and Ananja van der Westhuizen from TB Proof argue that we need to look upstream for solutions to improve indoor air quality.
Some staff members at Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape say old laundry machines and staff shortages are creating backlogs in getting clean linen, towels, and hospital gowns to patients. Patients, in turn, say they have to sleep on bare and soiled mattresses often with no bedding or dirty linen. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports on the situation, its implications for infection control, and the province’s plans to deal with it.
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 a third wave of COVID-19 looms in the Western Cape, a group of doctors at Groote Schuur Hospital’s Post-COVID-19 Lung Disease Clinic are treating patients who have recovered from COVID-19 but who suffer lingering symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath. Bienne Huisman paid them a visit.
Roughly two in five people newly ill with TB worldwide are never diagnosed. In South Africa, this amounts to about 120 000 to 160 000 people per year. A large new study called XACT III is testing ways in which more people can be diagnosed and started on TB treatment more quickly. Tiyese Jeranji reports.