Health care system

Health Ministers to do list, in six months

With just a few months to do the job before the next general election, the new Minister of Health, Barbara Hogan, has her job cut out for her and she is quick to admit that its a tough job ahead one fraught with problems. The Health Minister position has mostly been controversial, largely because of the countrys less than impressive track record in dealing with the issue of HIV/AIDS. Remember the Sarafina! and Virodene scandals under Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first Health Minister in post-apartheid South Africa? The less said about the shenanigans of her successor, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the better. Barbara Hogan, the third Health Minister since 1994 has inherited a legacy that she does not want to continue and there is very little time to prove herself. During this period, she says, her main focus is on two priorities.

World Health Report calls for return to primary health care approach

The World Health Report 2008, launched on 14 October, critically assesses the way that health care is organized, financed, and delivered in rich and poor countries around the world. The WHO report documents a number of failures and shortcomings that have left the health status of different populations, both within and between countries, dangerously out of balance. The World Health Report sets out a way to tackle inequities and inefficiencies in health care, and its recommendations need to be heeded, said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan at the launch of the report in Almaty, Kazakhstan. A world that is greatly out of balance in matters of health is neither stable nor secure.

A Policy for the development of a District Health System For South Africa: executive summary

Published by: 
Department of Health (South Africa)
The challenge facing the South African health system is to be part of a comprehensive programme to redress social and econoniic injustices, and to ensure that emphasis Is placed on health and not just on medical care.

Lack of medical workers plagues developing countries

When her baby turned blue, Nivetha Biju rushed the child to the emergency room of an Indian hospital and watched helplessly as the baby lost consciousness because the nurses on duty had no idea what to do. Eventually a doctor saved the baby's life, but many patients are not so lucky in India and in other developing countries where a scarcity of doctors and trained nurses means there is often no helping hand in times of need. Health systems [in developing countries] are on the brink of collapse due to the lack of skilled personnel, said Ezekiel Nukuro, an official with the World Health Organization. In some countries, deaths from preventable diseases are rising and life expectancy is dropping, he said.

Measuring the move towards equity from the site of service delivery: results from the nine provinces

Published by: 
Health Systems Trust
It is important that policies and strategies towards equity in service provision are measured in terms of their impact on health service delivery. This would begin to demonstrate the practical impact of health reform. In an attempt to measure in part the progress (or lack of progress) towards equity one step would be to measure in part the quality of service provision at the community (primary care) level. This would give an overview of the disparities between as well as in provinces, and between rural, urban and peri-urban parts of the country.

Community health workers in South Africa

Published by: 
Health Systems Trust

International experience has shown that CHWs can make a valuable contribution to improving basic health status in poor communities. However, the nature of their role in South Africa's Primary Health Care (PHC) system has yet to be defined. The development of CHW programmes will be facilitated by the move towards a district-based health system (DHS). However, the message from other countries is that there must be clarity on the status and role of these front-line health workers for them to achieve their full potential.

Top experts examine ARV access and health systems

South Africas top researchers, policy makers, managers and providers have released the outcome of a roundtable discussion held last year, where they grappled with antiretroviral access and the health systems capacity to cope with the increasing demand.

Manto firm over private health care

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has upped the ante in her battle with the private healthcare sector to control the spiralling costs of health and medicines by rejecting suggestions that she was the minister of public health and should only focus on that sector.

Treatment Monitor: Focus on Human Resources

With the advent of cheaper drugs, the debates on systems factors affecting HIV/AIDS care are increasingly shifting to questions of how HIV services can be staffed in low-income settings. These debates are informed by a rapidly worsening human resource crisis, which is driven by a brain drain from low-income countries, increasing morbidity and mortality among health workers and rapidly increasing service demands.

Struggle for the health of the nation will resume

HEALTH care in SA is a famously contested sphere, and this year is likely to see intense lobbying by diverse interest groups as the government continues to try to regulate their activities. Several important bills are due to go before Parliament, and key sections of other acts need to be brought into effect. The governments desire to make health care more affordable and narrow the gap between the services available to rich and poor drives much of the legislation that has been passed, or is in the pipeline.