Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

According to new estimates from the World Health Organization around 61 000 people died of TB in South Africa in 2020, an increase of around 5% over 2019. That works out to over 1 100 TB deaths in the country every week. We urgently need a transparent TB recovery plan and we need both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Joe Phaahla to invest real political capital in the implementation of the plan, the authors argue.

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In-depth: Does SA have a diabetes testing problem?

In-depth: Does SA have a diabetes testing problem?

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.

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Opinion: Climate emergency risks becoming a mental health emergency

Opinion: Climate emergency risks becoming a mental health emergency

Studies have shown that the rate of mental health problems, such as suicidality, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress, increase after natural disasters. Mbalenhle Baduza unpacks the findings of a recent report by the Centre for Environmental Rights on the psychological and mental health consequences of climate change in South Africa.

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Opinion: The over-criminalisation of HIV transmission does more harm than good

Opinion: The over-criminalisation of HIV transmission does more harm than good

Although it is necessary for the criminal justice system to prohibit and punish conduct that is harmful to the public interest, criminalising exposure to or transmission of HIV goes against important public health principles, writes Sibusisiwe Ndlela.

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Ageing nurses: A crisis on the horizon

Ageing nurses: A crisis on the horizon

Nurses make up a large part of the healthcare workforce in South Africa, but almost half of them are set to retire in the next 15 years. This suggests existing shortages of nurses will become even greater unless we take concrete steps to boost nurse training and retention. Elna Schütz reports.

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LIFE ESIDIMENI INQUEST: A Recap on its progress and what to expect  

LIFE ESIDIMENI INQUEST: A Recap on its progress and what to expect  

The ongoing judicial inquest into the deaths of mental healthcare users during the Life Esidimeni tragedy in 2016, has again been postponed this week. It is the fifth time the proceedings have been postponed since the inquest started in July this year, signalling that there is still a long road ahead for determining any criminal accountability for these deaths. Julia Chaskalson takes stock of the progress so far and what to expect in the months ahead.

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In-depth: What is behind the massive cataract surgery backlogs in Gauteng?

In-depth: What is behind the massive cataract surgery backlogs in Gauteng?

As World Sight Day approaches on 14 October, Gauteng faces the damning reality that thousands of cataract patients are waiting up to two years to receive the simple life-changing surgery. Ufrieda Ho reports.

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Human resource issues at root of Free State health problems, report suggests

Human resource issues at root of Free State health problems, report suggests

Shortages of healthcare workers are contributing to long waiting times at healthcare facilities, poor treatment adherence, and are undermining the response to HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in the Free State, findings in a new report show. Refilwe Mochoari attended the launch of the report and asked the Free State Department of Health for its response.

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Efforts to vaccinate the homeless stumbling over red tape

Efforts to vaccinate the homeless stumbling over red tape

South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme currently requires that people enter an identity number when registering on government’s electronic system and present an identity document when they go to get jabbed. This makes it hard for homeless people without IDs to get vaccinated. Siyabonga Kamnqa reports from the streets of Cape Town.

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OPINION: Without contraception, Limpopo women’s rights are being violated

OPINION: Without contraception, Limpopo women’s rights are being violated

The ongoing stockouts of contraceptives grossly violate individuals’ and couples’ reproductive rights but alternative measures have not been put in place. If the issues of access to contraceptives are not dealt with, the country will face a baby boom and a rise in HIV infections at the end of the current pandemic writes Thuthukile Mbatha and Annah Maluleke.

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Interview: Acting Free State Health head on his plans for the department

Interview: Acting Free State Health head on his plans for the department

On 20 May Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela announced that Godfrey Mahlatsi will replace then head of the province’s health department Dr David Motau in an acting capacity. Refilwe Mochoari asked Mahlatsi about his plans for a department that has seen its fair share of controversy over the years.

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Opinion: Amidst the pandemic, health facility quality ratings give a false sense of security.   

Opinion: Amidst the pandemic, health facility quality ratings give a false sense of security.  

Health facility assessments are crucial to ensure patients’ needs for care are met, but often these assessments become a box-ticking exercise the country can ill afford, writes René Sparks.

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