A shocking estimated seven million children in South Africa are orphaned by Aids or living with Aids-unwell caregivers, revealed Dr Lucie Cluver on Wednesday.
A research team at Oxford University in the UK is very close to determining the efficacy of their new tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. If current clinical trials are successful, it will be the first new TB vaccine in almost a century.
The urgent need for a new vaccine is emphasised by research showing that extensively drug-resistant (XDR) forms of the disease are rapidly spreading.
Today, most babies in the world are immunized with the old Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, first used in 1921. The leader of the Oxford research team, Helen McShane, says it saves children's lives, but beyond infancy its effects are limited.
The use of ‘co-payments’ to deal with possible ‘over-utilisation’ of health care services is a key point of contention in policy debates related to South Africa’s National Health Insurance proposals.
Over-utilisation occurs when health care provision (in instances when it is free at the point of service), leads to inappropriate and excessive utilisation. Co-payments mean users still receive health services that are heavily subsidised (from public funds in the case of the proposed NHI), but have to pay something towards the cost of services – this aims to curb the frivolous use of services and avoid over-utilisation.