'NHI will benefit the entire region'

An effective healthcare system will free up donor money for more desperate countries.

South Africa's National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will play a crucial role in freeing up donor funding for countries that need it more, said Trevor Mundel, the president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Programme. 

"It's essential that South Africa comes up with alternative solutions [to fund healthcare] and thereby potentially free up donor money … with the economic crisis in developed countries that puts a premium on maintaining overseas aid," he said. "Mechanisms like the NHI, which will take on more of the [financial] burden, will help to do that." 

Funding injection for healthcare

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said funding for primary healthcare has increased substantially over the last four years with more cash channelled into the treatment of TB.

Gordhan said yesterday, funding for primary healthcare would increase from R23.2bn to R28bn in the next two years.

He responded to a recommendations by the parliamentary portfolio committee on health.

The committee, chaired by ANC MP Bevan Boqwana, had proposed that the department of health should increase its focus on primary healthcare by pumping in more money.

This was going to help reduce hospital overcrowding.

In his reply Gordhan said he supported the committee’s suggestion.

South African health minister: Canada should join us to fight TB in mines


As South Africa’s Minister for Health, it may be surprising that many of the meetings I will have during my visit to Canada this week are not with health officials or medical personnel, but with representatives from mining companies.

Drug-resistant TB patients have access to new drug

All patients diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis will now have access to a promising new drug bedaquiline, which is still undergoing trials, via a clinical access programme driven by the national health department.

Dr Francesca Conradie, President of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society said although this access programme had already started in four pilot sites approved by the Medicines Control Council, it was now being rolled out in all nine provinces.

“We have trained nurses and doctors across the country to be able to administer bedaqualine to all multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB patients.

Maternal and paediatric tuberculosis still overlooked

The global target of a 50 percent reduction in tuberculosis (TB) by 2015 may already have been achieved, but TB remains a neglected disease among women and young children, say health experts.

In 1993 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared TB a global public health emergency.

“About one third of the global population is infected with TB, with an estimated three million cases that remain undetected,” said Haileyesus Getahun,coordinator of the WHO Stop TB Department.

Catastrophe as Eastern Cape drug stock-outs continue

Thousands of people living with HIV in the Eastern Cape are in catastrophic danger of developing fatal drug resistance due to ongoing interruptions in their antiretroviral (ARV) drug supplies, with activists calling on the national health minster to intervene.

The grave warning was released yesterday  in an updated report compiled by a number of activist organisations that are working on the ground in the province.

Five months ago the Rural Health Advocacy Project, Doctors without Borders (MSF), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and SECTION27 released a report detailing the crisis at the Mthatha medical depot, which was unable to cope with ARV orders from clinics and hospitals. It now appears as if the dire situation is unchanged.

Motsoaledi outlines integrated health school plan

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has launched an integrated health school policy in partnership with the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development to deal head-on with health problems confronting school-going youth.

Motsoaledi said it was a constitutional imperative to provide health care to all children, even those out of the school system. “We want all vulnerable children to develop their full potential.”

He was speaking at the opening of the South African Conference on Orphans, Children and Youth made vulnerable by HIV and Aids, which included the launch of Child Protection Week and Pledge, held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

African leaders pledge to intensify efforts towards ending AIDS, TB and Malaria

More than 12 African heads of state and other global leaders met today and reviewed progress toward implementing transformative reforms in the AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria responses and pledged to accelerate the pace of change (increase annual domestic funding for health care, particularly AIDS, TB and malaria services).  AIDS Watch Africa (AWA), an advocacy platform for African Heads of State on AIDS, TB and Malaria convened the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the side-lines of the African Union summit celebrating 50 years of African Unity.

Health: Minister's Budget Vote Speech

Honourable Speaker
My colleague the Deputy Minister of Health
MECs for Health present
The Chairperson and members of the Health Portfolio Committee
Honourable Members of Parliament
Invited Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Honourable Speaker, it is now well documented and generally understood that South Africa faces a quadruple burden of disease. Many other countries are faced only with a double burden.

These four are:

Gold miners with work-related TB neglected for too long

TB is linked with a deadly silicosis epidemic hidden for decades in rural South Africa. Gold mining firms must make amends, says Jaine Roberts.

Across the rural Eastern Cape province in South Africa, up to half of men admitted to hospital withtuberculosis (TB) are former gold miners. This should not be surprising: the incidence of TB among miners is 2,000 cases per 100,000, four times the national incidence.

But researchers rarely ask about occupation when studying the distribution and determinants of illnesses such as TB — and the result here is a hidden epidemic of silicosis-related TB among former gold miners in South Africa.