Even in ‘normal’ times a reliable supply of medical oxygen is an essential part of healthcare services, but during COVID-19 surges the need for this life-sustaining gas has spiked to unprecedented levels. Tiyese Jeranji explores the fascinating science and engineering that facilitates this substance’s long journey from a production plant to a person’s lungs.
In August last year, the South African Pollen Monitoring Network expanded pollen monitoring efforts in the country. The data now being collected can assist researchers, doctors, and people with pollen allergies. Elri Voigt explores these efforts and the impact pollen has on the lives of people in South Africa.
From March to July this year, the Gauteng Department of Health recorded 57 848 TB tests – a decrease of about 30 000 tests compared to the same period last year. The province performed better with HIV testing, although the HIV response has faltered in other areas. Melissa Javan makes sense of the province’s numbers and speaks to activists and community health workers about the impact of lockdown on their services and plans to get things back on track.
Children shoulder approximately 12% of the global TB burden, and this proportion is likely higher in high TB burden countries. In South Africa, up to 30 000 children develop TB each year. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to TB expert, Dr Megan Palmer from Brooklyn Chest Hospital about treatment challenges and how to improve TB detection and treatment outcomes in children.
Lockdown has been difficult for most people in South Africa, but residents in the South Durban Basin describe their experiences as tantamount to a health hostage situation as they are caught between polluted air from petrochemical industries and the COVID-19 virus. Nomfundo Xolo investigates.
Are waste service workers becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 through their work? Is handling household waste an occupational hazard? Are the precautionary measures introduced by municipalities sufficient? Professor Wolfgang Preiser explains the science and puts the risks in perspective.
Hundreds of people daily search for recyclable materials to sell and food to eat at Arlington and Uitenhage waste disposal sites in Port Elizabeth. Luvuyo Mehlwana spoke to waste pickers about their fears of contracting COVID-19 from waste and to experts about the risks of this happening.