South Africa is one of only six countries to ever meet their “fair share target” for funding tuberculosis (TB) research, according to a new report. In absolute terms however, South Africa’s contribution is small change compared to investments into TB research made by the top two contributors, the United States government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what the report tells us about investment in TB research in South Africa.
For the past 128 years, a hospital tucked away on what was once a rural farm in Johannesburg East has been fighting to turn the tables on a disease that has plagued humankind for millennia. Ufrieda Ho has the latest in Spotlight’s special series of ‘Hospital Histories’.
The World Health Organization in February this year said that an estimated 1.1 million new cancer cases are being reported in Africa each year with around 700 000 deaths from cancer. A recent report provides important new data on cancer in South Africa, but the picture remains incomplete. Ufrieda Ho reports.
Professor Wendy Stevens believes ‘completely in the honesty of science’ and this, she says, has landed her in the naughty corner many times throughout her career. Biénne Huisman spoke to Stevens – a global leader in HIV and TB laboratory medicine about her career, what you choose when science and politics collide, and the value of swimming upstream.
The risk of a hospitalised person dying from COVID-19 in the Eastern Cape was almost double the risk of someone dying of the disease in the Western Cape, according to a study published in the South African Journal of Science. Adele Baleta unpacks the study’s rich set of findings on hospitalisation and death in South Africa.
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.
It is estimated that over 100 000 of the over 300 000 people who fall ill with TB in South Africa every year are not diagnosed. As a result, improving TB screening and testing has become a high priority in South Africa’s TB response. Coinciding with World TB Day 2022, Spotlight editor Marcus Low examines new information shared by the National Department of Health and assesses the state of the country’s TB case-finding efforts.
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.
The different types of COVID-19 tests are far from equal. Picking a test is generally a matter of speed versus accuracy and, most importantly, why you need a test and when. What are the limitations of these tests? Is there any quality control? What are the chances of false positives and false negatives? Elsabé Brits surveys the landscape of tests available in South Africa and asks which type is most appropriate in what situation.
Three years ago, public sector cancer services made headlines for failing patients in multiple provinces. A few government interventions later, experts say there have been improvements, but significant issues remain. Elna Schütz reports.
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.