The recent suspension of Professor Ebrahim Variava and the subsequent lifting of his suspension briefly placed the North West Department of Health in the national spotlight – a department that has been under administration for over two years. Marcus Low asks whether the latest developments are just a blip on the department’s road to recovery, or are they symptomatic of still deeply entrenched dysfunction.
On Sunday evening President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed South Africa’s battle plan against COVID-19. We asked public health experts, political parties, health workers and civil society organisations what they thought of it.
Professor Lynn Morris interim director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has a lifetime of experience fighting viruses. She has encountered HIV, Ebola, TB, Listeria, Klebsiella, a multitude of ‘lesser’ pathogens and now COVID-19. However, she thinks that COVID-19, the name given for the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, presents one of the greatest challenges yet to both South Africa and the world.
Shortly after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced South Africa’s latest tally of 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases – Spotlight got a glimpse of the isolation unit at Tygerberg Hospital where three patients are currently in isolation and awaiting test results to see if they are infected.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says South Africa desperately needs to address the increase in the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases as measures to address NCDs to date have not had enough of an impact.
MPs were caught up in a foxtrot of hypotheticals and assurances over COVID-19 with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and senior officials in Parliament today. Mkhize and his department briefed MPs in the Portfolio Committee on Health on COVID-19 ahead of a debate on South Africa’s readiness for an outbreak in the National Assembly tomorrow.
How prepared is South Africa really for COVID-19? Spotlight and Daily Maverick sent government a combined list of 22 questions aiming to get beyond the hype and into the nitty-gritty of how and on what legal authority measures will be taken.