Latest News

Does Depo-Provera increase the risk of HIV transmission? What the data really says
PSI Impact | 3 March 2015
With all the controversy swirling around Depo-Provera and HIV risk — the alarmist headlines and counter-arguments about the assumed relationship and the need for future studies— one might want to reconsider the injectable hormonal contraceptive, right? Well, not so fast, says Dr. Paul Blumenthal, Stanford professor and global medical director of PSI.   A few studies have suggested that the injectable hormonal contraception Depo-Provera is associated with a higher risk of...
Most doctors give in to requests by parents to alter vaccine schedules
The New York Times | 2 March 2015
A wide majority of pediatricians and family physicians acquiesce to parents who wish to delay vaccinating their children, even though the doctors feel these decisions put children at risk for measles, whooping cough and other ailments, a new survey has found.   Physicians who reluctantly agreed said they did so to build trust with families and to avoid losing them as patients.   The survey, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, asked a nationally representative sample...
A minister with an HPV mission
Independent Online | 2 March 2015
Pretoria – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi remembers the moment he committed himself to changing the future of girls in South Africa.   A medical doctor working in the public health system, he was having to admit mothers, wives, sisters and daughters to hospital to die of cervical cancer.   He saw the debilitating effect their condition had on them, their families – and also on doctors like him, and the nurses and medical students working around him....
E-procurement in support of universal health coverage
WHO | 2 March 2015
Kenya is gearing up for digital bidding on essential medicines’ contracts, part of a wave of African countries looking at procurement to improve transparency, bring down costs and support universal health coverage. Gary Humphreys reports.   Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2015;93:138-139. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.15.020315   John Kabuchi, procurement manager for the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, can feel it coming.
Lost patient cards compound long queues
Health-e News | 27 February 2015
When a trip to the clinic already involves three queues, lost patient cards are the last thing you need.   Thembinkosi Mabena recently went to collect his antiretrovirals (ARV) at the Eastern Cape’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lusikisiki. After eight hours and three queues, Mabena received his treatment but only after the hospital’s chief executive officer interceded on his behalf.   “I arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am and there was already a long queue,...
US PEPFAR abstinence and faithfulness funding had no impact on sexual behaviour in Africa
aidsmap | 26 February 2015
Nearly US$1.3 billion spent on US-funded programmes to promote abstinence and faithfulness in sub-Saharan Africa had no significant impact on sexual behaviour in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, an analysis of sexual behaviour data has shown. The preliminary findings were presented by Nathan Lo of Stanford University School of Medicine at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2015) in Seattle, USA, on Thursday.   The President’s Emergency Plan for...
XDR-TB in South Africa is largely spread person-to-person, not by failure of drug treatment
aidsmap | 26 February 2015
The vast majority of people with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) diagnosed in the world’s most extensive outbreak have acquired their infection from another person, not as the result of the failure of treatment for multidrug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (MDR-TB), N Sarita Shah told the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2015) in Seattle, USA, on Wednesday.   KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa has been the setting for a large...
Hopes dashed as HIV measure found to be useless
BDlive | 25 February 2015
Hopes that a South African-developed vaginal gel containing the HIV/AIDS drug tenofovir would protect women against HIV were dashed on Tuesday, after a major new study found that it did not work.   Five years ago, scientists were optimistic that the microbicide would protect millions of women from HIV, after a phase 2 study of 900 women in KwaZulu-Natal called Caprisa 004 found it reduced the risk of getting the virus by 39%. The development was hailed as a breakthrough, though the...
Briefly… SchoolMedia campaigns for healthy lifestyle for learners
The Media Online | 25 February 2015
The South African Health Review (SAHR) has warned that South Africans, particularly those living in poorer urban communities, are at increased risk of chronic non-communicable diseases. Most of these diseases can be prevented, but if they are not addressed, can lead to many chronic illnesses including stroke, heart attack, tobacco-related cancers, nutrition-induced cancers and obstructive lung disease.   Khethi Ngwenya, owner and managing director of SchoolMedia (an in school media...
Giving back to the hospital which saved his life
Tygerburg Children's Hospital Trust | 17 February 2015
Tygerberg Children’s Hospital was the scene of a heartwarming reunion when a Cape Town entrepreneur returned to meet the person who had treated him for childhood cancer nearly 20 years ago, and give back to the ward which had helped save his life.   “I’m so grateful to the doctors and staff who looked after me when I was so sick,” said Gerhard van Niekerk, who spent long stints undergoing chemotherapy and treatment at Tygerberg Children’s Hospital when...
HPV vaccine highly effective against multiple cancer-causing strains
EurekAlert! | 13 February 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, 13 January 2015 -- According to a multinational clinical trial involving nearly 20,000 young women, the human papilloma virus vaccine, Cervarix, not only has the potential to prevent cervical cancer, but was effective against other common cancer-causing human papillomaviruses, aside from just the two HPV types, 16 and 18, which are responsible for about 70 percent of all cases. That effectiveness endured for the study's entire follow-up, of up to four years.
Rheumatic heart disease levels high in SA
SABC | 12 February 2015
South Africa’s cases of rheumatic heart disease are 25 times the World Health Organisation (WHO) rate.