My grandfather, an immigrant, barely made ends meet with farm work when he arrived in South Africa around the start of the 20th century. He was lured into swapping the open fields for underground life as a worker on the gold mines.
There is no doubt that mine workers with occupationally acquired lung diseases get a raw deal in South Africa. Their counterparts in other industries receive monthly pensions for life.
Thandile Qwalela died in the tuberculosis ward of his Eastern Cape district hospital at the age of 48. He was an underground miner from age 20 who served 17 years as a stoper and winch driver on the gold mines.
South Africa has by far the worst TB prevalence rate in the world, with almost 1000 South Africans out of every 100 000 living with the disease in 2006. This is according to the Global TB report released in Geneva on Monday 16th March, based mainly on 2006 statistics supplied to the World Health Organisation by over 200 countries.
The registrar of medical schemes, Patrick Masobe, has threatened to take private hospitals to the Competition Commission if they fail to justify their price increases planned for next year, Business Day reported on Monday.
At least a thousand Tunisian doctors are expected to hit South African shores within the next few months as government continues its robust health professional recruitment drive. The Tunisian doctors are to be deployed in under-served areas of the country where there are major shortages of health professionals.
In the context of extensive local and international comment on the contentious issue of detention of patients with XDR-TB in South Africa, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) wishes to state that:
Not personalising HIV and AIDS perpetuates the myth that the disease is not your problem but someone else's problem, says HIV positive AIDS activist Lucky Mazibuko. Our biggest challenge as South Africans is that we have not been able to personalise AIDS and we only get involved when we are affected and infected, said the activist who also runs a column in one of the biggest daily newspapers, Sowetan.
Living with HIV in South Africa presents plenty of challenges: those most affected are often the poorest and lack access to jobs, housing and proper sanitation the disease still carries a strong stigma and many prefer to carry the burden of their status alone rather than risk sharing it with friends and family.