In part one of this Spotlight special series on lead poisoning, Jesse Copelyn explored new research suggesting that lead exposure is far more damaging to cardiovascular health than previously estimated. In part two, he takes a look at the sources of lead poisoning in South Africa, where the metal has been found in products ranging from cooking pots to serving plates.
A study published in April this year found that residents across two villages in Limpopo’s Giyani local municipality have dangerous amounts of arsenic in their drinking water. Attempts to improve access to safe water in the area appear to have been derailed by alleged corruption. Jesse Copelyn unpacks the risks of excessive arsenic exposure and what is known about the alleged corruption in Giyani.
Malaria-carrying mosquitoes will, and are already moving to new habitats as the earth warms up due to climate change. Adele Baleta asked several local experts what the changing climate might mean for malaria in South Africa and efforts to eliminate the parasitic disease.
Diabetes rates in South Africa are anticipated to keep rising in the coming years as the country’s health burden slowly shifts away from infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis toward non-communicable diseases. The relevant government strategy sets three key diabetes targets. Elri Voigt spoke to several local experts about these targets and South Africa’s prospects of meeting them.
Professor Soraya Seedat is a distinguished professor and head of Stellenbosch University’s psychiatry department. She has penned several hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on psychiatric disorders, with a focus on PTSD and anxiety, particularly among children and in resource-constrained settings. Biénne Huisman sat down with her to talk about her work, what drives her, and maintaining a work-life equilibrium.
Professor Naeemah Abrahams, who heads the SAMRC’s Gender and Health Unit has been working in the field of gender-based violence (GBV) for thirty years. Activism always underpinned her research, which has focused on post-rape care, intimate partner femicide, and the interface between GBV and HIV. Biénne Huisman sat down with her to talk about her work, her feminism, and getting men to interrogate their perceptions of masculinity.
Obesity is a complicated public health issue that can be devastating on both the societal and the individual level. New weight loss medicines have shown remarkable efficacy in clinical trials, but their high cost is limiting uptake. Amy Green asks where these new medicines should fit into South Africa’s response to rising levels of obesity.
South Africa’s health ombud Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s tenure as ombud will end at the end of May. Bienne Huisman spoke to him about headline-making investigations into the Life Esidemeni tragedy and conditions at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, his childhood in Limpopo, and how he side-stepped former President Nelson Mandela’s invitation to join the African National Congress.
On 9 March, Professor Muki Shey received a silver award from the South African Medical Research Council for his “outstanding contribution to health research”. Shey is spearheading research into TB in healthcare workers from around Cape Town, scanning for those who over at least five years of high exposure to the disease at hospitals or clinics have never been infected. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about his journey from the North West of Cameroon to a lab at UCT and the value of ploughing back to help develop the next generation.
An HIV prevention injection approved in South Africa, several promising developments on the tuberculosis front, the National Health Insurance Bill grinding its way through Parliament, no end in sight to healthcare worker shortages, another dire year for health in Gauteng – Spotlight wraps up 2022 in under 1 000 words.
Falling ill with tuberculosis (TB) can be challenging for anyone, but it can be especially hard if you are pregnant or have just given birth. Globally, TB is amongst the top five causes of death in women of childbearing age. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts about the risks, challenges, and ongoing studies on maternal TB.