Mental health does not have its own ring-fenced budget and given huge inefficiencies in our mental health spending, we need to be strategic on where and how we spend the little we have. Alicestine October unpacks what a new government-commissioned mental health investment case framework can mean for access to equitable and quality mental health services in the country.
While KwaZulu-Natal is doing comparatively well on key HIV indicators, the public healthcare system in the province is plagued by staff shortages, long waiting times, poor tuberculosis infection control, and in some cases, dysfunctional filing systems. This is according to a new report from community-led monitoring group Ritshidze. Elri Voigt reports.
Budgets alone do not solve structural issues, but what it does is provide some insight into the government’s plans for addressing its broader developmental priorities. Russel Rensburg unpacks what the medium-term budget policy statement means for the health sector.
Dr Kenneth Jacobs was elected chairperson of the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Health last month. Biénne Huisman chatted to Jacobs about National Health Insurance, the role of Parliament, working with the Stormers rugby team, and his own background and journey to serving as chair of such an important parliamentary committee.
Shortages of doctors and nurses at hospitals in the Eastern Cape is a well-known systemic issue that creates serious challenges for access to quality healthcare. Attempts to access information on how the Provincial Department of Health is addressing or will address this have been unsuccessful, making it hard to hold the department accountable, writes Sibusisiwe Ndlela.
Having to collect one’s medicines at overcrowded public sector clinics with long queues can be time-consuming, disruptive, and, these days, may expose one to a risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Thabo Molelekwa takes stock of South Africa’s centralised chronic medicines dispensing and distribution programme, the Department of Health’s system for allowing more people to collect their chronic medicines closer to their homes or workplaces.
Last night President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Dr Zweli Mkhize had resigned as South Africa’s Minister of Health after eight weeks on special leave. Although Mkhize will primarily be remembered for the Digital Vibes scandal that caused his downfall, a lot more happened over the last two years. Spotlight editor Marcus Low asks what we can learn from Mkhize’s time as health minister and tries to make sense of some of the contradictions.
Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and undocumented people are estimated to make up around 4 million of the people living in South Africa. That is nearly 7% of the country’s total population yet there is still no clarity on the process to register and vaccinate undocumented people.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize this week provided an update on investigations into a multimillion-rand NHI communications contract mired in controversy. That same morning, MPs in Parliament were again reminded of how critical an independent National Health Insurance Board will be. One organisation proposed an additional NHI corruption-fighting unit. Alicestine October has the latest from in and outside of Parliament.
For all the suffering and death the COVID-19 pandemic has caused over the last 12 months, it has arguably also provided a unique opportunity to test some of the mechanisms behind South Africa’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) system. The centralised procurement of vaccines and the contracting of doctors, for example, are probably not dissimilar from the arrangements we might see under NHI. Kathryn Cleary asks three leading health experts what lessons, for NHI, we should learn from the COVID-19 response.