Latest News

Comment: Measles threat puts Ebola to shame
Mail&Guardian | 30 January 2015
The disease is outfoxing prevention efforts, thanks in part to vaccination myths.   The year 2014 saw one of the scariest infectious disease outbreaks in recent history. Ebola has so far claimed about 8 600 lives of the nearly 21 700 who were clinically ill. Ebola may have hogged the headlines, but a December 19 warning alert of a measles outbreak in South Africa failed to cause much of a stir in the media.   According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD...
Influenza drug now hailed as effective
BDlive | 30 January 2015
The controversial influenza drug oseltamivir reduces complications and keeps people out of hospital, according to new research published on Thursday in the UK journal The Lancet.   Last year, an influential study published by the Cochrane Collaboration and the British Medical Journal cast doubt on the efficacy of oseltamivir, concluding it was little better than paracetamol at relieving symptoms.
State rethink on posting of doctors
BDlive | 28 January 2015
The Department of Health is planning to revise the National Health Act’s controversial provisions for regulating where doctors work, it emerged on Tuesday.   The development will allow doctor associations a fresh opportunity to lobby the government, but does not mean the policy is off the political agenda.   Health director-general Precious Matsoso said the principle of the so-called certificate of need, which aims to direct healthcare resources to areas where the...
Malaria cases on the rise: NICD
SABC | 20 January 2015
The National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD) says malaria cases have increased from over 8 000 in 2013 to almost 14 000 last year. 

The institute's Deputy Director, Professor Lucille Blumberg, says the increase is primarily due to favourable climatic conditions for the breeding of mosquitoes. 

Travellers visiting malaria-affected areas are urged to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.

SA’s health workers to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone
BDlive | 20 January 2015
The first group of healthcare professionals recruited to help treat Ebola patients in Sierra Leone is due to leave on Friday, Right to Care announced on Monday.   Right to Care is a nonprofit organisation working closely with the Department of Health to support its aid to Sierra Leone.   It launched an appeal in December for doctors, nurses and paramedics to help the West African nation.   Sierra Leone has been hardest hit by the region’s Ebola outbreak, which...
SA role in Ebola vaccine clinical trial
BDlive | 19 January 2015
South African healthcare workers in Sierra Leone might be among the frontline staff offered experimental Ebola vaccines when clinical trials get under way in West Africa in the next two months, it emerged last week.   Researchers and vaccine manufacturers are pushing ahead with plans to test whether three experimental Ebola vaccines are effective against the virus, racing against time as the number of patients falls.   West Africa has experienced the worst outbreak of Ebola...
60% of SA sex workers HIV positive
City Press | 13 January 2015
About 60% of South Africa’s estimated 150 000 sex workers are HIV positive.   The statistics were announced by the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) at the launch of a national HIV/Aids programme for sex workers in Johannesburg yesterday, The New Age reported.   “How can you talk about HIV prevention and not talk about sex work, knowing that HIV transmission involves sex?” Sanac chief executive Fareed Abdullah was quoted as saying at the launch...
Study links birth control to increased risk of HIV infection
Health-e News | 12 January 2015
Women using the birth control shot known by the brand name Depo-Provera may have about a 30 percent higher risk of contracting HIV, according to new research. However, the link between hormonal contraception and HIV remains uncertain.   Researchers have questioned a possible link between hormonal contraception use and HIV risk since 1991.
ART - 40% fail to adhere after three years
| 11 January 2015
Exciting gains in HIV prevention, treatment options and vaccine science will advance further this year and benefit future generations.   In South Africa however the rising demand for AIDS drugs and increasing failure of the 2.7 million on ARVs to take them properly, new infections among young women and dwindling NGO funding threaten its successful treatment programme.   SA National AIDS Council CEO, Dr Fareed Abdullah, said: “We have made remarkable progress but the...
Local experts wary of early cervical cancer jab successes
Health-e News | 9 January 2015
Local experts are cautiously optimistic about last year’s cervical cancer vaccine roll-out after Australian authorities announced that vaccine is already showing positive results seven years after it was introduced in the country.   “The vaccine is completely changing the epidemiology [of cervical cancer] in our country,” said Dr Julia Brotherton, medical director for the Australian National HPV Vaccination Programme Register.   According to Brotherton,...
New system ‘causing delays’ at Natalspruit hospital
BDlive | 8 January 2015
The newly built Natalspruit Hospital in Ekurhuleni is experiencing technical glitches, with the paperless electronic system raising fears that the wellbeing of patients could be compromised.   The provincial health department downplayed the seriousness of the matter raised by the DA MPL Jack Bloom, who said the hospital management needed to improve soon so that patients could get decent care without lengthy delays.   "This is a major flaw that I had hoped would be fixed...
SA secures ‘world’s lowest prices’ for HIV drugs
BDlive | 6 January 2015
The Department of Health will be paying the lowest prices in the world in its next HIV/AIDS drug tender, despite not pushing prices down as far as it had hoped, it said on Monday.   The tender will run for three years from April 1 and is worth an estimated R14bn, according to local generic drugs maker Aspen Pharmacare.   Before the department called for bids last year, it published a reference price list detailing how much it was prepared to pay for various HIV/AIDS drugs.