With the remarkable success of antiretroviral treatment people living with HIV in South Africa are generally living much longer than they did two decades ago. As a result, more people with HIV are also now living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension. Accordingly, the need to better integrate HIV and NCD services was a hot topic at the recent Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference in Cape Town. Elri Voigt reports.
Tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy has been transformed in recent years, with treatment duration having been cut from six or more months to just three or one. Progress in developing new treatments to prevent drug-resistant forms of TB has however lagged behind, especially in children. Elri Voigt unpacks findings from a major new TB prevention study presented at the Union World Conference on Lung Health last week and plans for another important preventive therapy trial set to start soon.
Evidence suggests that even the tiniest amount of lead is detrimental to our health – and that’s bad news for people in South Africa, who are exposed to large amounts of the metal. Jesse Copelyn explores why lead does so much damage to the brain and heart, and why scientists keep finding it’s worse than we’d previously thought.
An estimated 54 000 people died of tuberculosis in South Africa in 2022 and around 280 000 fell ill with the disease, according to just-released figures from the World Health Organization. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the figures and what they mean for the country’s TB response.
Earlier this month the world celebrated breastfeeding week. To improve infant nutrition by 2025, the United Nations set targets to eliminate malnutrition and increase breastfeeding rates to at least 50% – targets that South Africa also subscribes to. In South Africa, however, often mothers are poor, unemployed, and hungry – all factors impacting their ability to breastfeed and, ultimately, the nutrition their babies receive. As Women’s Month draws to a close, Refilwe Mochoari looked at the nuances of this challenge in the Free State, where mothers often face a litany of socio-economic challenges and asks how government can support these mothers better.
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.
Millions of doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine procured by the South African government have expired and the shot is largely unavailable to people in the country. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared an end to the COVID-19 ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’. Adele Baleta asks what all this means for COVID-19 in South Africa.
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.
The scientific evidence that exclusive breastfeeding is best for infants is very strong. Yet, some baby milk formula companies continue to use questionable methods to create demand for their products, thereby undermining breastfeeding. Elsabé Brits explores this and spoke to experts based on a series of articles published in The Lancet.
Despite advances in paediatric TB care, substantial challenges remain. If we are to heed the call for this year’s World TB Day – ‘Yes! We can end TB’ – we will need to significantly ramp up dedicated investment for an integrated approach to addressing TB in children, argues Dr Sipho Nyathi.
Lenalidomide is an important medicine used for the treatment of multiple myeloma – a type of bone marrow cancer that is not curable and typically requires long-term, ongoing treatment. Over the last decade, the price of this drug has fluctuated dramatically in South Africa and patients and their doctors have gone to extreme lengths to access it. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the remarkable recent history of lenalidomide.