Latest News

Many South African women become infected with HIV during pregnancy posing high risk of transmission to their infants
aidsmap | 1 June 2015
There is a high risk of HIV seroconversion during pregnancy for women in South Africa, investigators report in the online journal PLOS One. The study involved approximately 10,000 mother and infant pairs and found that 3% of mothers became infected with HIV during pregnancy, accounting for over a quarter of all cases of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV.   The authors believe their findings have important implications for prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes...
‘Don’t send us to the bush’ say nurses
News24 | 1 June 2015
If you live in a predominantly urban province such as Gauteng or areas of the Western Cape, you are less likely to stand in long queues to get help from a nurse – unlike those people living in largely rural provinces such as the Eastern Cape.   This is because of a skewed distribution of nurses in favour of metropolitan areas.   Apart from this, figures show that at least half of the country’s 270 000 nurses work in the private sector, which services only 16% of...
A nurse and a family kit help save children’s lives
UNICEF | 29 May 2015
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a UNICEF-supported programme providing families with medicine and advice at home is a positive step towards reducing child mortality.   Mbanza Ngungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 29 May 2015 – Charlotte Disukini is a busy bee, to say the least. A mother of five and grandmother in her forties, Charlotte lives in a suburb of Mbanza Ngungu, four hours from Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  ...
World Health Assembly closes, passing resolutions on air pollution and epilepsy
WHO | 26 May 2015
26 MAY 2015 | GENEVA - The World Health Assembly closed today, with Director-General Dr Margaret Chan noting that it had passed several “landmark resolutions and decisions”. Three new resolutions were passed today: one on air pollution, one on epilepsy and one laying out the next steps in finalizing a framework of engagement with non-State actors.   Air pollution   Delegates at the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to address the health impacts of air...
Poor management blamed for bulk of drug stock outs
Health-e News | 25 May 2015
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has blamed manufacturers for shortages of medicines including HIV and tuberculosis drugs, but a civil society coalition has alleged 80 percent of stock outs are due to poor management.   According to Motsoaledi, recent reports by Times Live and eNCA regarding alleged widespread drug shortages promoted the minister’s early return last week from the World Health Organisation’s on-going, annual World Health Assembly in Geneva.  ...
Ensuring universal health coverage for key populations
UNAIDS | 22 May 2015
Without addressing HIV among marginalized populations and human rights, it will not be possible to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, according to experts at a World Health Assembly side event.   A high-level panel, which included UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, called on health ministers to pledge to remove structural barriers to accessing HIV services and health care for all. The speakers also stressed the need for political commitment to leave...
Birth control implant needs a shot in the arm
Mail&Guardian | 22 May 2015
Poor training of nurses may have led to severe reactions to a new contraceptive device.   When Ntombi-khona Ndlovu (28), from Volksrust in the Pixley ka Seme district of Mpumalanga, went to the local clinic to get contraception, she was introduced to the Implanon NXT – a hormonal contraception device inserted under the skin on the inside of the nondominant upper arm.   The health department introduced the implant, produced by pharmaceutical company MSD, in April last...
We have enough medics, but they’re in the cities
BDlive | 21 May 2015
Millions of South Africans are missing out on basic healthcare because of a skewed system that fails to make use of all the country’s skilled health professionals.   It is public knowledge that there are not enough doctors in the public health system. For every 1,000 people, SA has less than one doctor available. Brazil, with a gross national product per capita similar to SA, has nearly two doctors for every 1,000 people.   What is less well known is that if SA’s...
WHO: West Africa’s health systems need rebuilding post-Ebola
Aljazeera America | 21 May 2015
Health officials say only half of needed funds have been pledged, caution virus ‘will not go quietly’   Health care systems in West Africa that collapsed during the Ebola epidemic must be rebuilt urgently to provide basic services and confront other killer diseases, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.   Recovery plans in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will cost $2.3 billion, only half of which has been pledged, and donors will need confidence in...
Netcare spends big to cope with outages
BDlive | 19 May 2015
SA’s second-biggest private hospital group by value, Netcare, plans to spend R150m over the next two years on new generators, diesel stockpiles and a host of other measures to ensure its facilities run smoothly in the face of uncertain electricity supply, it said on Monday.   The company is also aiming to reduce its energy consumption by 35% over the next decade with projects it says will save upwards of R1bn.   "We are facing an extraordinary situation in SA,...
State clinches public sector wage agreement
BDlive | 19 May 2015
The government and 1.3-million of its employees on Tuesday reached a three-year wage agreement.   The deal avoids the prospect of a damaging strike in the public service.
Comment: Mother and child health must improve
Mail&Guardian | 15 May 2015
As a young journalist in Johannesburg in the early 1990s, I wrote a story about South Africa’s looming HIV crisis, citing predictions from epidemiologists that, without urgent action, cases could top five million by 2000. That seemed an impossibly large number at the time, but unfortunately those predictions came true.   A combination of government neglect, lack of international preparedness and ground-level stigma allowed Aids to gain a devastating foothold in South Africa. As...