A Call on African governments to boost the fight against childhood cancer

Policy experts, specialists and activists have joined together to call for more action to provide treatment, care and support for children with cancer in African countries.Their plea has been echoed by a Sowetan father, who lost his daughter to cancer, and is at the forefront of raising awareness of childhood cancer in South Africa, as well as Ghanaian actor and celebrity,Kwaku Sintim-Misa, also known as "KSM".
They were speaking at theWorld Cancer Leaders Summit in Cape Town, at an event jointly hosted by the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) and the Paris-based Sanofi Espoir Foundation (SEF).

South Africa ‘seeks balance’ between intellectual property, public health

THE government’s policy on intellectual property (IP), currently under discussion, would seek to strike a balance between the needs of public health and the interests of innovative pharmaceutical companies, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday.

His department released a draft national policy on intellectual for public comment on September 4. While the policy is wide-ranging, one of the areas that has come in for closest public attention is that of health, as activists see the policy drafting process as an opportunity to lobby for measures they believe will lower the price of medicines.

Cape Town XDR-TB patient leads international campaign

A Cape Town survivor of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has taken her campaign for better access to testing and treatment from her hometown of Khayelitsha to Paris and beyond.

In August, 23-year-old Phumeza Tisile beat the odds and became one of only a few hundred South African who beat extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) each year. After an almost three-year battle with XDR-TB, Tisile has helped launch a campaign for better access to drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) testing and treatment.

New TB technology may be ready for clinics

New research has shown that rapid GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) test improves access to TB diagnosis and treatment, and may be ready for South African clinics.

Conducted in part by the University of Cape Town (UCT), the study looked at whether it was possible for nurses – instead of laboratory technicians – to administer the test in clinics in four countries, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

The Desmond Tutu TB Centre on a quest to reduce childhood TB Deaths

South African researchers have thrown their weight behind the first ever global action plan specifically targeted for children with tuberculosis (TB), in the hope of bringing down the country’s extremely high childhood TB rate.

About 45,000 children in South Africa get TB every year, while many more go undiagnosed or are not reported, says Professor Anneke Hesseling, director of the Paediatric TB Research Programme at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University.

Harsh price of HIV-linked longevity

HIV+ people on ARVs are now living longer lifespans. But the virus's associated diseases could put an unbearable strain on the health system.

Research studies show that people with HIV who are on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment now live almost as long as their HIV-negative peers.

But this gain in life years also has a downside: it has put HIV-infected people at risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol, which normally only appear in older people.    

The Roadmap for Childhood TB: Toward Zero Deaths

Published by: 
World Health Organization

The urgency of the problem of TB in children, whose full scope is still not fully known, cannot be underestimated. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates in 2012 revealed that up to 74 000 children die from TB each year and children account for around half a million new cases annually. It should be noted that the estimated deaths only include those in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative children. In fact, the actual burden of TB in children is likely higher, especially given the challenge in diagnosing childhood TB. Compounding this difficulty with diagnosis is the fact that children with TB often come from families that are poor, lack knowledge about the disease and live in communities with limited access to health services.

New funding models needed ‘to fight cancer in poor nations’

A global fund is needed to curb ballooning cancer rates in poor nations, where malignancies already kill more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria combined, a report by a coalition of researchers shows.

Progress against infectious diseases, aided by organisations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has helped to extend life expectancy. As people live longer, other illnesses such as cancer are more likely to develop.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of new cancer cases will double in the next 15 years, straining medical systems in the region, the researchers said at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam on Monday.