Under a new tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis strategy, people considered to be at high risk of TB are offered molecular TB tests, even if they do not have any symptoms. A landmark study in 2020 showed that such a strategy can help diagnose more people more quickly. Now, early indications are that it also works in the real world and South Africa’s lab service says they can cope with the increased demand. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
An innovative new technology that allows women to collect their own samples for HPV testing, rather than having the sample taken by a healthcare worker, was recently tested in the Eastern Cape. Elri Voigt spoke to local experts about the study and what such a self-collected test might mean for cervical cancer detection in South Africa.
Early enthusiasm about South Africa’s strong position to scale up COVID-19 testing due to existing investments in diagnostic infrastructure for HIV and TB waned after the country found itself unable to secure adequate test materials. Steps are now being taken to reduce the dependence on just a few suppliers for these materials. Catherine Tomlinson reports.
While COVID-19 tests in the private sector are often processed within a day or two – even if the test is not urgent – many patients in public sector hospitals have to wait a week or more. Amy Green investigates the stark differences between public and private sector testing in South Africa.
Government has rolled out an intensified screening and testing campaign in the hope of finding more COVID-19 cases during and after the lockdown period, but the disparity between the country’s testing capacity and the actual number of tests being conducted remains substantial.
The National Health Laboratory Service claims it has the capacity to do 15 000 COVID-19 tests a day, but that the actual number of tests being done is lower because of limited demand from provinces.
Irregular expenditure by the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) in the 2018/19 financial year totalled almost R2,7 billion – the biggest chunk of the R3,03 billion the National Department of Health and all its entities incurred the past financial year.