Cross-border health crisis hits mineworkers

Two years ago Mopeli Mofoka, 39, left his wife and child in Maseru, Lesotho's capital, and joined the more than 50,000 men pushed by poverty and unemployment in their home country to seek work on mines in neighbouring South Africa. It was his second stint as a miner the first had been 15 years earlier. This time he was hired as a sub-contractor, which meant that despite testing positive for HIV during his preliminary health screening he did not have access to the on-site health services available to mine employees. When his health began deteriorating 18 months later, he went to a local public hospital but was turned away because he lacked a South African identity document. His only option was to return home, where he is receiving treatment for tuberculosis (TB) at a government clinic run in partnership with international medical aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontires (MSF) in Morija, about 50km south of Maseru, the capital.

Africa Program Coordinator

Closing date: IGLHRC will begin reviewing applicants on February 20, 2009 and continue until a suitable candidate is identified.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is committed to working with local, regional and international partners to fight human rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide. In mid-2007, IGLHRC opened a regional office for Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, to more effectively manage its operations on the continent and to build partnerships with African LGBT and human rights organizations. The Africa Program Coordinator will manage this office and IGLHRC's Africa program.

A steady erosion

HIV is thought to have a kill rate of close to 100%, higher than even the notorious haemorrhagic diseases such as Ebola. But, unlike such virulent attackers, HIV kills its hosts through a steadily attrition of the immune system, giving ample time for new infections to occur. The result is a slow-burning epidemic steadily destroying lives and eroding South Africa's development potential. HIV/AIDS was regarded as effectively untreatable in South Africa. The drugs were too expensive: Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Edwin Cameron had to have financial help to afford the antiretrovirals that have now kept him alive for so many years. Effectively, antiretroviral therapy (ART) was seen as something for the wealthy elite - and, so the argument went, even if it were affordable, then poor and unsophisticated people were unlikely to be able to take it properly.

Miners face huge HIV challenge

By virtue of the physical nature of their jobs, South African miners receiving treatment for HIV and AIDS are vulnerable to discrimination when they are not at peak performance, because of the drugs' side-effects. This is one of the challenges that workers in the mining sector deal with, as HIV rips through the industry. Benchmarks Foundation estimates that about 16 to 30 percent of mineworkers are HIV-positive, a problem which, according to experts, has yet to receive adequate attention.

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.

Launch of the 1997 South African Health Review

For the third consecutive year the Health Systems Trust will release its much publicised South African Health Review, recognised barometer of the progress of reform in the health service. This year's health review is frank in its assessment of successes and failures, but expands its scope of information by including a survey of the realities in clinics in every province in the country.

The good and the bad

The good news on medical schemes is that the industry is turning around from huge losses. The bad news is that nobody's tracking how much medical costs consumers are carrying. On average, the industry performed pretty well, according to acting registrar of medical schemes Patrick Matshidze.

Health Council warns doctors

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) warned doctors on Wednesday against forensic investigators who illegally conduct random audits.

KZN nurses overloaded as health-care crisis looms

Health-care provision in KwaZulu-Natal is approaching crisis with understaffing resulting in nurses looking after up to 69 patients each. Chronic under-funding continues to plague the provincial health department, forcing the already strapped department to freeze critical posts.