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.
On Tuesday South Africa commemorated World AIDS Day in Soweto under the theme: We’re in the together, Cheka Impilo. Spotlight photographer Denvor De Wee was there to capture the event in pictures.
Two decades since Doctors without Borders (MSF) started its HIV programme in Khayelitsha, the organisation will start wrapping up its operations. Siyabonga Kamnqa spoke to some people living with HIV who benefitted from this programme and who now work as activists about developments over the last 20 years.
While South Africa is doing well on some of the UNAIDS HIV targets for 2020, one target we are set to miss is ensuring that 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are on antiretroviral therapy. Partly in response to this problem, the ‘Welcome back’ campaign started by Doctors without Borders aims to make it easier for people who have stopped taking treatment to restart. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
If South Africa is forced to go into a COVID-19 lockdown again, HIV support groups and adherence clubs should remain functional to make sure that everyone is supported, has regular access to information and treatment, and that people are motivated to adhere to treatment, argue Annah Maluleke and Solanga Milambo.
Medicine stockouts can have dire consequences. Tendai Mafuma and Ruth Dube look at lessons learnt over the years on how to help prevent medicine stockouts and argue that although the interventions are not new, if implemented it could help solve the vicious cycle of medicine stockouts in the Eastern Cape.
The persistent challenges in public health in the Eastern Cape, highlight the critical role of leadership. Prof Helen Schneider argues if we are to reimagine a future of access, equity and justice in health and health care in the Eastern Cape, we need bottom-up institution-building involving civil society and not just top-down legislative, budgetary and other reforms.
Numbers from the National Institute of Communicable Disease and from some provinces show that TB diagnoses have dropped dramatically in 2020 – likely due to COVID-19 and the related lockdown. The Eastern Cape Department of Health has however declined to share information on the TB situation in the province and their catch-up plans. Some activists are concerned about the situation. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
The dire state of health infrastructure and services in the Eastern Cape has made headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic and triggered promises of government intervention, but in some hospitals those providing and receiving healthcare note little to no improvement. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
A leading TB doctor says that “it is no exaggeration to say there is a TB crisis in the country”, and that “the impact of this crisis could be even more devastating than COVID-19”. Kathryn Cleary explores the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on South Africa’s TB response and the way forward.
Under COVID-19 lockdowns in South Africa and elsewhere, many public services have been interrupted, including sexual and reproductive health services. Thuthukile Mbatha considers the heavy toll these interruptions have taken on people’s lives.