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In July, Rudo Mathivha handed in her notice at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, ending a rightly celebrated 25-year stint as head of the intensive care unit. It was after a truly terrible year. Her story underscores the extent to which quality healthcare for the country’s most vulnerable people remains at the mercy of the indifferent and the corrupt.
In 1969, Esther Mwaikambo became Tanzania’s first female doctor. Today, she is arguably also the country’s most famous. She tells Sean Christie how public healthcare in Africa has changed — and what she wishes for the future.
A dying baby’s kidneys could save an adult’s life. But it’s a tough decision — and one few grieving parents are willing to make. Would you?
The National Health Insurance scheme aims to solve two problems — fixing poorly-run health facilities and distributing the money available for healthcare in the country in a more equitable way — simultaneously. But trying to fix two things at once may make things worse, writes Dave Martin.
Why do pandemics such as Aids not automatically end when we have the medicine to control them? Because they play out in a world where inequality frequently prevents drugs from reaching the people who need it most, writes Mia Malan.
In South Africa’s rural areas, people often face a long, arduous journey to get to a clinic where they can pick up their HIV medicines. Not taking the drugs regularly will mean that the person’s health suffers, which can make it even harder to make the trip. The Bulungula Incubator in the rural Eastern Cape has figured out how to set up a medicine pick-up point closer to people’s homes.
In 2020, 1.9-million children were stillborn according to a new report from the World Health Organisation. Read how one woman’s experience of stillbirth inspired her to start a mental health support group for parents who lost a child during pregnancy.
Researchers have found a way to slash life-threatening bleeding after birth by 60%, according to a study presented at the International Maternal Newborn Health Conference in Cape Town last week.
In South Africa, a gene test that will tell you if you’re at risk for Alzheimer’s disease costs R3 600. But major organisations warn people against using these home kits without also getting counselling to help them work through the results — regardless of the outcome.
The United States government has appointed the first African head of its Aids fund, Pepfar. John Nkengasong, a Cameroonian virologist with US citizenship, will need to establish the potential impact of America’s change in abortion legislation on Pepfar funding rules.
Health workers-in-training say they feel forced to abuse birthing patients as part of a dark rite of passage on the road to becoming a doctor or midwife. This final year medical student explains how these experiences can shape the country’s future doctors.
The social and economic factors faced by women do not disappear once they become pregnant. Without additional support those problems get much worse and can be bad for their families too.
Policies to stop the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa have had a negative impact on maternal and newborn health care.
COVID-19 came with a lot of collateral damage that the world was unprepared for. Part of the pandemic ripple effect meant people weren’t able to access tuberculosis testing or treatment, derailing targets to end the disease. But there are also lessons to be learned along the way.
Abortion services only got a national “how to” document for doctors 23 years after termination of pregnancy was legalised in South Africa. And while the new rules go a long way to remove barriers to ending a pregnancy, non-profits say crucial information such as a simple list of telephone numbers is still lacking.
Pregnancy can be a time of joy - and sadness. Many pregnant women and mothers of infants in lower-income communities acknowledge feeling depressed during this time. Here’s how community health workers helped alleviate this.