Latest News

Not feeling the female condom
Health-e News | 20 November 2013
A National Health Insurance pilot district, Dr Kenneth Kaunda district health office distributes 200 female condoms to every clinic in its Matlosana area. Each woman receives only 15 female condoms, which are only largely available at health facilities – unlike more readily available male condoms. Jourberton’s Tsholofelo Clinic staff says that despite community education efforts, there remains a lack of demand for female condom among women.
HIV and Aids: record numbers in poorer countries receive treatment
Guardian | 20 November 2013
HIV infection rates tumble by 33% in a decade, while number of Aids-related deaths falls from 2.3m in 2005 to 1.6m last year Record numbers of people living in low- and middle-income countries are receiving antiretroviral treatment, and HIV infection rates among children have fallen sharply, the UN has said. But UNAids, the joint UN programme on HIV and Aids, said there were worrying signs that some countries were not on track to meet global targets and commitments, and more funding...
Cancer groups threaten legal action against Gauteng Department of Health
Health-e News | 20 November 2013
As hundreds of cancer patients wait months for treatment in Gauteng hospitals, at least one patient group has threatened to take the province to court.
Africa’s health could go up in smoke
Health-e News | 19 November 2013
While regulation and taxation have halved South African smoking rates in the past 20 years, rates in the rest of Africa are rising steadily. Currently, six percent of the world’s adult smokers live in Africa but that number is expected to rise as economic and social development on the continent continues, according to a new American Cancer Society (ACS) report.
Call for free cancer drugs for all
Times Live | 19 November 2013
Patients in the private sector are denied access to free medicines from state "donation" programmes when they have run out of medical funds. This is according to Campaigning for Cancer chairman and Werksmans lawyer Neil Kirby. Addressing the World Cancer Leaders Summit in Cape Town yesterday, he called for a change in the law to allow patients with medical aids to apply for donated treatment while remaining with their own doctors in private practice. The state's life-saving...
New TB vaccine trial in SA
Times Live | 12 November 2013
A trial of a new vaccine hoped to prevent tuberculosis has begun in South Africa. An estimated 500000 people contract TB in the country every year, one of the highest rates in the world. The UCT South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative in Worcester will be testing the vaccine on about 100 volunteers to see if it causes their bodies to develop an immune response to TB. The Vaccine Initiative, part of the University of Cape Town, is the largest TB vaccine research group in Africa....
Teenage pregnancies and contraception access under spotlight at global summit
Guardian | 12 November 2013
Reducing the number of teenage pregnancies and ensuring young women have access to contraception will be the focus of the largest global summit on family planning, which opens in Addis Ababa on Tuesday. The third international family planning conference aims to build on the momentum of last year's meeting in London, where donors pledged $2.6bn (£1.6bn) in new funding and committed to providing 120 million more women with access to modern contraceptives by 2020.
Parliament’s help sought in health crisis
BDLive | 7 November 2013
THE Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition on Wednesday turned up the pressure on the province’s health department, urging Parliament to intervene to help fix the province’s collapsing health system. The coalition, which represents more than 20 civil society and professional organisations, is running a high-profile campaign for better public health services in the Eastern Cape. In September it released a hard-hitting report detailing the hardship facing many of the...
South Africa ‘seeks balance’ between intellectual property, public health
BD Live | 6 November 2013
THE government’s policy on intellectual property (IP), currently under discussion, would seek to strike a balance between the needs of public health and the interests of innovative pharmaceutical companies, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday. His department released a draft national policy on intellectual for public comment on September 4. While the policy is wide-ranging, one of the areas that has come in for closest public attention is that of health, as...
R30m of expired meds found in ECape depot
The Citizen | 6 November 2013
Expired medication worth about R30 million was discovered in an unauthorised medical depot in Libode, Mthatha, this week, the Eastern Cape’s health department said. The medicines were discovered by a rapid response team which had been sent to the OR Tambo district by the health MEC Sicelo Gqobana, said spokesman Sizwe Kupelo. “The medicines were exposed to heat when there was arson at the Mthatha medical depot in 2011,” he said. They were removed from the Mthatha depot...
Earlier HIV treatment could save South Africa money
Health-e News | 6 November 2013
Starting HIV patients on antiretrovirals (ARV) earlier may save South Africa money in the short-term, but doctors caution such a move may risk patients. In 2011, the nine-country HPTN 052 study found that starting HIV-positive people on ARVs earlier and at higher CD4 counts of between 350 and 550 reduced their risks of transmitting the virus by about 96 percent. It also bolstered a growing body of observational data that earlier treatment benefited HIV patients too, by keeping them...
Revolutionary test for TB poses some challenges
Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Stellenbosch University | 6 November 2013
A revolutionary new way of testing for tuberculosis (TB), the GeneXpert can dramatically reduce the time it takes to get a diagnosis for multi-drug resistant TB, but bottlenecks in the health system are making it difficult to get patients on treatment quickly, a study has found.   Research presented by the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University shows that the turnaround time to get a diagnosis has been cut from 25 days to less than a day with the Gene Xpert, a rapid...