Opinion: SA can’t afford proposed cuts to HIV funding

National Treasury has proposed a R1 billion cut to HIV funding. This has come about because – rather than seeing the reduced price of antiretroviral treatment as an opportunity to scale up treatment coverage and strengthen other interventions to address the HIV epidemic – the Department of Health has seen it as an opportunity for cost-containment. However, the HIV epidemic is not over and savings owing to cost reductions should not simply be returned to Treasury, argue Matshidiso Lencoasa and Mila Harding.

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OPINION: Struggle for migrant health rights still far from over after landmark judgment 

In a landmark court decision, the Gauteng High Court recently confirmed the rights of all pregnant and lactating women and children under age six to access services for free at all levels of care. The court order sets a good precedent for migrant health rights going forward, writes Mbali Baduza and Kholofelo Mphahlele as they explain the build-up to the court proceedings and why this is significant for re-affirming the right to access to healthcare for all in terms of section27 of the Constitution.

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Open letter: Dear Minister Phaahla, the ‘medical tourist mom’ is little more than a convenient myth.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla recently announced in Parliament that his department will conduct a study on the treatment of foreign nationals at public health facilities in South Africa. Phaahla singled out foreign nationals (pregnant women) seeking maternity services as the major concern, but the idea of the medical tourist mom is a myth, writes Kholofelo Mphahlele in this open letter.

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Opinion: An interdict on teen vaccination will harm basic education and violate the rights of learners

The African Christian Democratic Party and partners are in the High Court today and tomorrow seeking to stop the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to adolescents. But in a context where the majority of learners attend schools with infrastructure problems and serious overcrowding, vaccines remain a critical tool to keep learners safe and prevent outbreaks of infection at schools, argue Julia Chaskalson and Zeenat Sujee.

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OPINION: One second-trimester public abortion facility in the entire Eastern Cape is not good enough

Second-trimester abortions, which occur between the beginning of the 13th and the end of the 20th week of pregnancy, are difficult to access in the public sector. This is mainly due to the lack of designated abortion facilities and the unavailability of abortion providers to provide the service and the Eastern Cape is no exception, writes Sibusisiwe Ndlela, Khanyisa Mapipa, and Thokozile Mtsolongo.

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Stix Morewa Hospital’s mental healthcare users stay put… for now.

In February, Stix Morewa Hospital in Selby, Johannesburg sent out a letter to the families of the over 400 mental healthcare users in their care. In this letter, families were reportedly informed that the Gauteng Department of Health will terminate its contract with the hospital by the end of March, which would have meant that the mental health users would have had to be transferred elsewhere. Thabo Molelekwa looks at the developments since then.

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OPEN LETTER: It takes more than a march to remedy systemic challenges to abortion access

On 17 February, Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo led a march against unsafe abortions in Rustenburg, North West, but a march alone cannot eliminate barriers that prevent women and girls from accessing safe abortions in the public health system. Much more is needed, argue Sibusiwe Ndlela, Khanyisa Mapipa and Thokozile Mtsolongo in an open letter.

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Big Acts, little access: The disconnect between SA’s abortion policies and women’s lived realities

Since the enactment of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOP Act) in 1996, there has been a significant disconnect between the official policy on safe abortion and its implementation. The situation has worsened with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and access to abortion services is now severely limited, write Boitumelo Masipa and Thembi Mahlathi.

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OPINION: The long and painful road to the Life Esidimeni inquest

Although individual families of the mental healthcare users who died after they were discharged from Life Esidimeni in 2016 have been compensated for the violation of their constitutional rights, the actors responsible for the deaths, suffering, and torture of the mental healthcare patients have yet to be held criminally accountable. But that could change after a formal Judicial Inquest into the deaths, starting at the Pretoria High Court on 19 July 2021.

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