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A torchlight tragedy: Inside a Joburg emergency room during loadshedding

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In July, loadshedding left Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital without a CT scanner, a piece of equipment that could have helped a patient who had suffered a serious brain injury.

Is the future of SA’s TB plans locked up in the mysterious minds of...

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South Africa’s health facilities aren’t geared up to help teens with TB to complete their treatment. As a result, the preventable, treatable disease was the leading cause of death among adolescents in South Africa between 2008 and 2018.

The oldest trick in Big Tobacco’s playbook nearly derailed SA’s TB conference. Here’s why

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The Foundation for Professional Development, one of South Africa’s oldest nonprofits and the main sponsor of the TB conference in Durban, accepted a R2-million research grant from an organisation that’s widely regarded as a front group for Philip Morris International.

Will the UK’s new prime minister cut funds to this malaria jab?

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A malaria vaccine has passed the World Health Organisation’s efficacy rate of 75%. But if the United Kingdom’s new prime minister cuts foreign aid, the people who need the jab may never get it.

‘Call me Tumi’: Meet the young woman who heads SA’s medicines regulator

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Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela leads the country’s medicines regulator, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), a public entity few people knew about until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. COVID triggered a noisy scramble for vaccines, tests and treatments that needed to be approved — often embroiled in politics.

These gun laws saved 30 lives a month in two big cities. Here’s what...

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A recent spate of massacres has reignited the conversation about firearm control. It’s an emotional debate, but what does the evidence say about the kind of policies that work to prevent gun violence?

Myths, migrants, and who benefits from medical xenophobia

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Migrants are being blamed for South Africa’s struggling health system – again. But poor governance, and a shortage of staff and hospital beds are the real issue.

This three-legged potjie doesn’t wobble. NHI lessons for deep rural South Africa

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For years, this mother in the rural Eastern Cape had to travel across a river and walk for two hours to get to a clinic. Then, her community teamed up with a nonprofit and the provincial health department to change that. These days, the furthest she has to walk to get her newborn to a nurse is five minutes.

The minister & the metaphor: A patient’s guide to legal medicine imports

Medicines for some cancers and rare diseases will never be considered an “essential medicine”, which means the health department will never buy it for state facilities. Many patients have burned their hands trying to save money by importing such drugs illegally.

Dirty Sprite: The DIY high that keeps SA schoolchildren numb

Codeine is found in mild painkillers and cough syrups, and is sometimes mixed with Sprite or alcohol to make a drink called “lean”.

How do you stop a hospital heist? Appoint a plunder-proof board

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The way South Africa’s health sector is governed leaves hospitals exposed to corruption. Hospital chief executive officers are political appointments, and so are the people at the accountability bodies and regulators such as the Office of Health Standards Compliance that are set up to hold the executives responsible. Independent hospital boards must play this role instead, writes this expert.

Could new abortion rules in the US affect the world’s biggest state HIV fund?

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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.

One pill within three days of condomless sex could stop three STIs. Here’s how...

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A cheap antibiotic (called doxycycline) used to treat skin infections and to stop people from getting malaria could also work to prevent chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, found a United States study in men who have sex with men and transgender women.

Why are Aids conferences still held in the Global North?

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Researchers have found that 96% of global health conferences happen in high- or middle-income countries. Less than four in 10 attendees at these gatherings are from poorer nations that have the highest burden of disease.

44 experts to design details of NHI scheme from January 2023

Forty-four new National Health Insurance (NHI) positions, based at the national health department head office in Tshwane, will be advertised in the coming weeks and filled by January 2023.

A junior doctor’s battle to keep death at bay for state patients

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One in four South African medical students show signs of depression, and most doctors are at risk of burning out. Read about one state doctor’s road to hell and back again.