There’s a hole in the middle of our AIDS programme

There is a big hole in the middle of South Africa’s HIV treatment programme that is undermining government’s remarkable achievements since 2009, when AIDS denialist President Thabo Mbeki was kicked out.

This hole is called medicine stock-outs. It is caused mainly by poor management, and no matter how good our national programme and health minister are, unless the implementers – the provinces – can improve health service delivery, we will not only fail to overcome HIV but we stand to develop a monster called drug-resistant HIV.

World AIDS Day 2013 - Necessity drives Innovation: KZN AIDS researchers ignite hope

Ahead of World AIDS Day 2013, leading HIV/AIDS researchers in Durban have urged society to focus on insights, innovation and integrity in the journey into an HIV-free future – and to put people at the centre of health services.

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.