Latest News

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.
Breast cancer advocates demand three-month supplies of treatment
Health-e News | 12 February 2015
Many HIV patients are now issued with three-month supplies of treatment, cutting down the burden on clinics and patients. Now, breast cancer advocates want the same for women battling the cancer.   In 2011, 53-year-old Nobuntu Rulashe from Soweto’s Snail Park was watching TV when a breast cancer awareness advert came on. The advert promoted her to check her breasts for the lumps the lady on the TV described.   She found one.   Less than a year later in January...
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...