It is estimated that around 45% of men and 48% of women older than 15 years have high blood pressure (hypertension) in South Africa and only about 19% of men and 29% of women who have this condition are aware that they have it. Elri Voigt unpacks the state of hypertension in the country and how it is diagnosed and treated.
Though the numbers are relatively uncertain, it is estimated that between four and five million people in South Africa are living with diabetes. One reason for the uncertainty is a lack of testing. A lack of testing also means that many people get diagnosed too late in the course of the disease. Elri Voigt asks what we do and do not know about diabetes in the country and what should be done about it.
Every year that National Treasury cannot deliver a health promotion levy of 20%, people in South Africa will die from the diseases that this levy could help prevent. And it is the poorest in South Africa who are the hardest hit, argues Lawrence Mbalati.
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikhalala praised the Umkhanyakude District recently on its ‘exceptional’ figures in meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. Yet, when Spotlight recently visited the Jozini area, we were confronted with a less rosy picture. Some people stopped their HIV treatment because they do not have food to eat, and activists now warn that the progress with the targets can be derailed if poverty, hunger and other social determinants of health are not urgently and comprehensively addressed. Nomfundo Xolo reports.
The recent budget policy statement shows South Africa finds itself in a very tight fiscal space where it has to navigate a global pandemic along with other health challenges such as rising rates of non-communicable diseases. Russell Rensburg argues that the Health Promotion Levy should be increased to 20% – which will raise much-needed revenue that will contribute to preventing disease and reducing healthcare costs.
Roughly 42% of people with diabetes who tested positive for COVID-19 and had to be admitted to hospital in the Western Cape had died as of 16 July. Elri Voigt asked experts why people with diabetes who are hospitalised with COVID-19 have such poor prognoses.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says South Africa desperately needs to address the increase in the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases as measures to address NCDs to date have not had enough of an impact.