It is often enlightening to ask how and why certain services differ in the ways they do between the private and public healthcare sectors. By too rigidly focusing on the NHI Bill, argues Spotlight Editor Marcus Low, government risks losing sight of the many other interesting answers to this and other important questions about healthcare reform in South Africa.
The National Treasury’s Cost Containment Letter sent to government departments instructing, among others, the freezing of posts was one of the big themes underlying talks about building South Africa’s healthcare worker capacity at the Public Health Association of South Africa’s conference held recently in Gqeberha. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
In August, telecommunications company MTN joined the list of service providers who have temporarily withdrawn services because the Eastern Cape Department of Health failed to pay their bills. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
Earlier this month the world celebrated breastfeeding week. To improve infant nutrition by 2025, the United Nations set targets to eliminate malnutrition and increase breastfeeding rates to at least 50% – targets that South Africa also subscribes to. In South Africa, however, often mothers are poor, unemployed, and hungry – all factors impacting their ability to breastfeed and, ultimately, the nutrition their babies receive. As Women’s Month draws to a close, Refilwe Mochoari looked at the nuances of this challenge in the Free State, where mothers often face a litany of socio-economic challenges and asks how government can support these mothers better.
Mental illnesses and the labels that go with these illnesses are often associated with stigma, which in turn influences health-seeking behaviour and adherence to treatment. Nthusang Lefafa looks at how South Africa’s National Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2023 – 2030 addresses stigma and asked some experts for their views.
One of the most damaging aspects of our public discourse on National Health Insurance (NHI) is the mistaken notion in some quarters that the only two options are NHI and the status quo, argues Marcus Low.
June is Men’s Health Month and while the focus is on men’s attitudes about their health, we have also been reflecting on the health sector’s attitudes about men. Men are not indifferent about their health and they are not inherently poor health-seekers. If many of them are avoiding healthcare services, let’s consider that it may be because they are not getting what they need from the healthcare system, writes Shawn Malone.
Following an article in Spotlight bemoaning “the lack of urgency” by the Gauteng Department of Health in addressing cancer and surgical backlogs despite having been allocated funds toward this, Dr Stephen Mankupane, Acting Head of Hospital Services in the provincial health department, writes that there is no disputing the fact that there is a need to act with urgency in attending to these backlogs and outlines what the department is doing. Here is his response in full.
Nurse shortages and issues with the training of nurses have been making headlines in recent weeks, with some referring to a ‘nursing crisis’ in South Africa. After attending a recent conference hosted by the South African Nursing Council, Thabo Molelekwa dug deeper in search of clarity on where the bottlenecks are and what can be done about them.
There are over 100 clinics in Mpumalanga without visiting doctors, hundreds waiting on surgeries in hospitals due to a lack of surgeons and other specialists, and only 60 working ambulances meant to service a population of over four million healthcare users. Nthusang Lefafa unpacks these challenges and asks the province’s health department about its plans.
South Africa’s shortage of rheumatologists often results in patients struggling to access the treatment and care they need, especially for public sector patients and people living in rural areas. Elna Schütz asks several local experts about the state of rheumatology in the country.
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.