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National health director general Precious Matsoso raised fears this week that the burden created by non-communicable diseases may pose a threat to the future National Health Insurance system.

Lifestyle diseases threaten NHI

Government has raised concerns that the health system may buckle under the pressure of both HIV and non-communicable diseases - a dual epidemic.
Life expectancy at birth is better in Singapore than in many developed countries .

Comment: Singapore slings health clues SA’s way

Its health system is comparable to the best in the world, achieved at a fraction of the cost of others.
Altered states: Successful stage hypnotist Andre Grove directs one of his subjects.

Hypnosis is not just about making you cluck like a chicken

The truth is, the phenomenon is not the mystical and magical art many assume it is.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has launched an HPV vaccine programme for grade four girls in all government schools.

HIV, ARVs and the cervical cancer vaccine

How SA women will benefit from an HPV vaccine, which the government will introduce next year, will strongly depend on the virus's link with HIV.
Mammography is still the gold standard of breast screening.

Double mastectomy – a drastic measure

A preventative mastectomy might save your life if you are at high risk but it does not provide 100% protection from developing breast cancer.
Research on carcinogens in the environment led to tobacco laws that helped to decrease the number of smokers in South Africa.

Comment: Death knell for cancer research

The state has pulled its funding of studies on the disease, retarding progress on a cure.
Arming girls: The HPV vaccine is up to 90% effective against the two most common cancer-causing strains

Life saving cancer vaccine will be difficult to implement

While HPV vaccines will save lives, target schoolgirls will be hard to reach.
Unjustifiable: Human rights group Section27 says that making life ­insurance  unaffordable for HIV-infected people just serves to perpetuate the stigma around the condition.

People with HIV pay more for life insurance – if they can get it

Their life expectancy is almost as high as those who are HIV free, yet they pay much more.
South African doctors are giving antibiotics to healthy patients

Impoverished patients benefit from rejected drug patent

After a seven-year battle, India's government has successfully defended its right to reject drug patents if a medicine doesn't deserve one.
Unprescribed: Students are using the drug Ritalin to stay focused for exams.

[From our archives]’Smart drugs’ rife at universities

Students are abusing schedule six pills ahead of exams – with the help of their doctors.
It takes an average 26 weeks to analyse the alcohol blood test results from the time they are dispatched by a police station.

Promoting good health makes cents

The establishment of a health promotion body in SA would save lives — and billions of rands.
Research on carcinogens in the environment led to tobacco laws that helped to decrease the number of smokers in South Africa.

Letters to the editor

The M&G Health Journalism Centre would like to hear from you. Letters should include the name and address of the writer. Send to [email protected]
Helen Keller epitomised triumph over adversity

The right to life – and death

However much we abhor the idea, the choice is personal and should be respected.
Business boosters: The law that regulates medicines in South Africa is not enforced for complimentary and alternative medicines.

Immune boosters a risky letdown

Immune boosters should not be substituted for real medication. Yet the claims on their packaging may seduce and persuade consumers.

M&G Health Journalism Centre

Bhekisisa aims to improve health reporting not only at the M&G but also at media houses across the continent.
'I pay nearly R1000 a month for my medical aid and it only covers 85% of my out-of-hospital consultation. The higher the charges for consultation

Doctors overcharge, say our readers

"Doctors collude to fix prices and there are too few competent specialists in private practice now."