It is estimated that around 45% of men and 48% of women older than 15 years have high blood pressure (hypertension) in South Africa and only about 19% of men and 29% of women who have this condition are aware that they have it. Elri Voigt unpacks the state of hypertension in the country and how it is diagnosed and treated.
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.
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.
The screening, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in children remain far from optimal – and in many respects lags behind what can be done for adults. Elri Voigt rounds up five developments in paediatric TB presented at the 52nd Union World Conference on Lung Health.
Studies show that people living with HIV are often at a higher risk for depression and anxiety, including a higher risk of suicide. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to mental health practitioners, activists, and people living with HIV to unpack the link between HIV and mental health.
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.
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.
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.
In its observations on South Africa, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) expressed grave concern regarding the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities. Professor Lesley Robertson looks at our medical model of disability and mental health legislation and unpacks the change needed at the societal and health system levels.
Little is known about the number of people in South Africa who are living with rare diseases. In fact, there is no recognised definition for rare disease in the country, contributing to inadequate record-keeping and very little data on prevalence, treatment options, and support structures. Laura Owings reports.
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.
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.