HPV: What is happening with SA’s other relatively new vaccine programme?

In 2014, South Africa launched an HPV vaccination campaign targeting 9-year-old public school learners in Grade 4. It involves delivering two doses of vaccine six months apart. Laura Owings asks how the campaign is going and what recent real-world HPV vaccine effectiveness data from the United Kingdom might mean for South Africa.

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Family focus shows promise for TB prevention

Tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy is highly effective in preventing TB disease and death, yet only a few people have access to it. Tiyese Jeranji reports on how Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Khayelitsha is helping TB patients, as well as their contacts, access preventive therapy in the comfort of their homes as part of a new family-centred TB care initiative.

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Opinion: Quality Tuberculosis care starts with people

The world is seeing tuberculosis (TB) deaths increase for the first time in over a decade. To turn things around and to put an end to TB being a leading infectious disease killer globally, we need to make sure the voices of people affected by TB are at the core of developing person-centered, quality TB care, free from stigma and discrimination, argue a group of TB experts and activists.

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Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

According to new estimates from the World Health Organization around 61 000 people died of TB in South Africa in 2020, an increase of around 5% over 2019. That works out to over 1 100 TB deaths in the country every week. We urgently need a transparent TB recovery plan and we need both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Joe Phaahla to invest real political capital in the implementation of the plan, the authors argue.

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In-depth: SA’s mental health policy has lapsed, what happens next?

Once widely hailed, South Africa’s Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2013 – 2020 lapsed last year, with mixed reviews on its implementation from mental healthcare stakeholders. The National Department of Health now says the revised and updated Policy Framework and Plan will be in place in the next financial year. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts and activists about what the lapsed policy framework achieved and what to improve.

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Research round-up: 7 new HIV prevention options in the pipeline

One of the most vibrant areas of HIV research these days is the search for new, more convenient ways to use antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) to prevent HIV infection. Elri Voigt rounds up the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) research presented at the recent International AIDS Society Conference, including a biodegradable antiretroviral implant.

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Spotlight on Women in Health

In 1947 the first black woman qualified as a doctor in South Africa. Her name was Mary Malahlela-Xakana. It took the country about 60 years after its first black male doctor started practicing for Malahlela-Xakana to don her stethoscope and practice medicine. Much, but not enough has changed since then, writes Alicestine October.

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