Latest News

World TB Day – Launch of online TB Surveillance Dashboard
Medical Brief | 29 March 2017
South Africa has the highest estimated tuberculosis (TB) incidence rate amongst the 22 high burden countries globally, with 834 new TB cases per 100,000 population. But there is evidence that the rate of new confirmed TB cases in the country is dropping. Now an online TB Surveillance Dashboard has been developed to better track and analyse the infectious disease. TB can affect people of all age groups but is most common among adults, particularly those co-...
In primary school and pregnant: The shocking numbers
Times Live | 27 March 2017
More than 190 learners in Grade 3‚ 4 and 5 fell pregnant between 2014 and 2016‚ a response to a parliamentary question has revealed. If learners from Grade 6 and 7 who fell pregnant are taken into account‚ the number jumps to 1‚449. “This information should shock every South African‚” the DA’s MP and basic education portfolio committee member Sonja Boshoff said in a statement. “Young girls‚ most under the legal age of 16...
New study helps crack the problem of diagnosing TB in people with HIV
The Conversation | 24 March 2017
Diagnosing TB in people who have HIV has been a challenge because they often have low levels of the bacteria in their system. This has been a serious problem for a country like South Africa where 454,000 people are infected with TB each year, half of whom are HIV positive. The Conversation Africa’s Health and Medicine Editor Candice Bailey spoke to Professor Bavesh Kana about a landmark study that provides a solution to tackling this diagnostic problem. What has the traditional...
Latest transmission patterns for drug resistant TB pose a new challenge
The Conversation | 23 March 2017
The emergence of drug resistant tuberculosis has resulted in scientists taking a more aggressive and urgent approach to research into the development of the disease. As the number of drug resistant TB cases has continued to rise, so has the need for rapid diagnosis, new treatment and new strategies that could help contain the disease.
National HIV plan scraps calls to decriminalise drug use
Bhekisisa | 21 March 2017
Contraception may be finally coming to a secondary school near you. South Africa is expected to release its new national HIV strategy later this month. In a country that continues to battle the world's largest HIV epidemic, the document will guide the next six years in the fight against new infections. The South African National Aids Council (Sanac), civil society groups and key government departments met to finalise the strategy late last week. The plan not only outlines the...
Kenyan medical students are learning through a community outreach model
The Conversation | 21 March 2017
This is a time of unprecedented change in medical education globally. Medical schools, postgraduate bodies and other organisations are responding to rapid advances in medicine and changes in health care delivery. New education approaches are being adopted to exchange information. This enables the institutions to produce relevant health professionals.
Doctors pass the scalpel to nurses in the quest for safer births
Bhekisisa | 21 March 2017
A doctor shortage in war-torn Mozambique paved the way for a new breed of surgeons that have slashed deaths among new mothers. In Caia, a small truck-stop town in a remote part of Mozambique’s central Sofala province, Sebastiana Domingos has just started her shift at the district hospital. She gently examines the scar on a patient’s abdomen. The 34-year-old pregnant woman was rushed to hospital after her uterus ruptured. “She was bleeding heavily and was severely...
Free Zimbabwean contraceptives smuggled for sale in South Africa
Times Live | 20 March 2017
Every month‚ Nancy (not her real name) and her business partner travel to Zimbabwe to stock up on Marvelon family planning pills. She smuggles them back into South Africa‚ where she sells them at a healthy profit to other Zimbabweans who for various reasons don’t want the contraceptive pills dispensed in South African clinics. Nancy’s suppliers are hospital staff in Zimbabwean hospitals who sell the pills to her for R5 a blister pack. Marvelon is distributed...
The Story Behind the First AIDS Drug
Time | 19 March 2017
Today, if someone is diagnosed with HIV, he or she can choose among 41 drugs that can treat the disease. And there’s a good chance that with the right combination, given at the right time, the drugs can keep HIV levels so low that the person never gets sick.
HPCSA urges residents to report misconduct
Health-E News | 14 March 2017
by Mogale Mojela on March 14, 2017 Patients who are badly treated at Limpopo hospitals are failing to report negligence or misconduct, prompting the Health Professions Council of South Africa to launch an awareness campaign to inform people of their rights, Mogale Mojela writes.
There’s a new killer in town
Health-E News | 13 March 2017
Kerry Cullinan on March 13, 2017 This killer preys on older, overweight and obese women – mainly from poor communities. It has been moving stealthily through the population, its influence under-estimated as our attention has been focused on HIV and tuberculosis.
Drugmaker to provide new TB drug worth almost half a million for free
Bhekisisa | 8 March 2017
A deal brokered with the health department guarantees free access but for how long? Drugmaker Otsuka Pharmaceutical won’t charge South Africa for using its new tuberculosis (TB) drug in a pilot programme, but South Africa’s free deal is unlikely to last. The drug, delamanid, is one of the first new TB medicines to be developed in 50 years. In unpublished research by international humanitarian organisation  Doctors Without Borders (MSF) delamanid has been shown...