Analysis: SA close to meeting TB research funding targets, but most countries falling short

South Africa is one of only six countries to ever meet their “fair share target” for funding tuberculosis (TB) research, according to a new report. In absolute terms however, South Africa’s contribution is small change compared to investments into TB research made by the top two contributors, the United States government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what the report tells us about investment in TB research in South Africa.

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Arsenic-contaminated drinking water found in two SA villages: scientists blame government mismanagement 

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.

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90-60-50: Can SA meet its diabetes targets, and would we know if we do?

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.

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Face to Face: Professor Soraya Seedat on the ‘workings of the brain’ and the realities of psychiatry in SA

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.

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HIV vaccine research set to change focus in wake of Mosaico disappointment

Top South African HIV clinicians are setting their sights on different approaches to finding an HIV vaccine after the “disappointing” news that the Mosaico trial was stopped early because the vaccine did not show any efficacy. The search for an HIV jab now seems set to pivot from vaccines that induce T-cell immunity to ones that induce B-cell immunity. Adele Baleta unpacks what that means and the reasoning behind it.

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Women in Health: Petro Terblanche – the farm girl from Brits who steered Africa’s first mRNA vaccine

When Professor Petro Terblanche joined biotechnology start-up Afrigen three years ago, she had no idea that the team she was heading up would create the continent’s first mRNA vaccine. But that wasn’t the first time Terblanche had been at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific work. Aisha Abdool Karim spoke to her as part of Spotlight’s Women in Health series.

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“It took me three seconds to decide” – Fareed Abdullah reflects on his career in public health

Over the last three decades, Dr Fareed Abdullah has been at the coalface of South Africa’s response to HIV, tuberculosis, and more recently, COVID-19. Biénne Huisman chatted with Abdullah about providing antiretrovirals in the time of AIDS denialism, National Health Insurance, working as a medical doctor, and the toll HIV has sadly taken on his own family.

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PART 2 – How can we reduce incidence of cerebral palsy in SA?

It is estimated that around half of medical negligence claims against the South African government are cerebral palsy-type claims. Apart from the direct impact on infants and families, cerebral palsy thus also has a major impact on health budgets. In this second article in a two-part series, Elri Voigt asks what can be done to reduce the incidence of cerebral palsy in the country. In part 1 we looked at what we know about cerebral palsy in South Africa.

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