10 March 2019

EDITORIAL: Aaron Motsoaledi’s toxic xenophobia

Business Day 6 March 2019 – Health minister’s prejudiced utterances encouraged illegal discriminatory practices against foreigners.

Last November, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi told a nursing summit convened by the labour union Nehawu that more hospitals and clinics were needed to accommodate all the local and foreign patients, and that SA needed to re-consider its immigration policies to control the number of undocumented and illegal immigrants. He went on to say that when immigrants “get admitted in large numbers, they cause overcrowding, infection control starts failing”. The minister presented not a shred of evidence to back up his xenophobic claims, made even more insidious by the fact that he was speaking to an audience comprising largely of frontline staff who daily make life-changing decisions about the patients before them. The little data there is suggests that foreigners comprise only about 5% of SA’s population, hardly the kind of numbers to overwhelm public services. For the article click here

Day clinic model fails to take off

Sunday Times 10 March 2019 – Slow uptake stifles Advanced Health’s SA growth prospects

When Advanced Health began building its day hospital business in SA five years ago, it had one goal: to provide an alternative to expensive hospital stays for patients and medical aids. Despite high costs the company’s cheaper alternative has not gained as much traction as it had enjoyed in the Australian market.

Take better care of the hand that rocks the cradle

Business Day 10 March 2019 - When women’s health is compromised, entire family structures fall apart, with long-term impacts on their communities

When women’s health is compromised, entire family structures fall apart, with long-term impacts on their communities. In countries such as SA, where 47% of children under the age of six live in households headed by women, the impact of maternal death is particularly devastating. I have seen first-hand cases where the mother dies first and a whole home is broken, especially in cases where she dies of HIV/AIDS. For the article click here

Durban hospital group at war with medical aid schemes

Business Day 8 March 2019 - If matter is not revolved in court, the patients may be sued for the money owed to hospital.

A Durban-based private hospital group is in a legal war with 13 medical aid schemes which it claims are refusing to pay R27m it is owed for hundreds of “pre-authorised” hospital visits. If this is not revolved, the patients could be sued for the money. City Hospital Pty Ltd, which owns City Hospital and Ascot Park Hospital, both near the city centre, claims that administrator Medscheme is behind the payment ban because it raised “anomalies” in admission patterns at the two hospitals. The hospital group says it is being financially crippled by the non-payment and wants a court to direct that the registrar and the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) undertake an urgent inquiry into the matter.  It wants CMS to declare the conduct of medical aid schemes  as an “undesirable business practice” and to probe who at Medscheme had motivated for the medical aids to withhold payment and “to what extent is the type of behaviour is prevalent against others and who they are”. But CMS CEO Dr Sipho Kabane, in an affidavit filed with the Durban High Court, says the complaints process is governed by legislation and “it is inappropriate for the applicant to seek that this court direct how I should conduct an investigation.” For the article click here

Gauteng Health signs MoU with medical aid schemes

BizCommunity 7 March 2019 - The Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH), in partnership with medical aid schemes and their administrators, has officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a public-private partnership.

Through the MoU, medical aid schemes will support the GDOH in various activities associated with the provincial Health, Wellness and Happiness (HWH) campaign. This initiative is aimed at scaling up efforts to curb rising mental health problems, lifestyle diseases and trauma cases. For the article click here

Battle against Ebola being lost amid militarised response, medical charity says

Business Day 7 March 2019 - MSF suspended aid activities last week after two facilities were set on fire in the DRC

The battle against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is failing because ordinary people do not trust health workers and an overly militarised response is alienating patients and families, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Thursday. For the article click here

Concerns over incomplete FS drug treatment centre

BizCommunity 7 March 2019 - The Portfolio Committee on Social Development wants to have a meeting with the National Treasury and the Department of Public Works as to why a drug treatment centre in the Free State has not been completed.

In a statement the committee said the facility has been under construction for three years without any progress. This was despite funds having been allocated and made available to the province annually, as a conditional grant. For the article click here

Tshwane emergency services in crisis mode after grant cuts

Business Day 7 March 2019 - The city has had to make emergency requisitions to buy its own supplies

The City of Tshwane’s emergency services are in crisis mode following a grant cut at the end of  2018 which, among other things, threatened oxygen and medicine supplies in the metro. For the article click here

Antibiotic resistance: public awareness campaigns might not work

BizCommunity 6 March 2019 - Pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa, are becoming ever more resistant to drugs.

People speed up this natural process by over-using antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs in medicine and agriculture, and by leaking them into the environment. The World Health Organisation (WHO) regards antimicrobial resistance as one of the top ten global threats to health. For the article click here

SYLVIA MCKEOWN: HIV remission of the ‘London patient’ brings hope to millions

Business Day 6 March 2019 – Soon after Rami Malek’s Oscar win for portraying Aids victim Freddie Mercury, scientists say a cure for infection is ‘possible, if difficult’

Scientists have reported that “a cure for HIV infection is possible, if difficult”. Contrary to sensationalist headlines, it isn’t exactly a cure. It’s far too early to use that word, considering that so far there are only two known instances, 12 years apart, in which a patient has achieved “long-term remission”. For the article click here

Anti-rejection drugs increase skin cancer risk in multiple kidney transplant patients

BizCommunity 6 March 2019 - A study led by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) has analysed the pattern of skin cancer rates in kidney transplant patients, which suggests the increased risk is related to the anti-rejection medications.

Due to this pattern of skin cancer rates, the data suggests that the cancer risk is related to the stopping and starting of anti-rejection medications. For the article click here

GPs exceed antibiotic duration guidelines for most infections

MEDICAL Brief 6 March 2019 - Substantial reductions in antibiotic exposure can be accomplished by aligning prescription durations with guidelines, found the large Public Health England study.

For most common infections treated in primary care, a substantial proportion of antibiotic prescriptions have durations exceeding those recommended in guidelines. For the article click here

PrEP guidelines/links to resources for medical practitioners in SA

MEDICAL Brief 6 March 2019 - South African guidelines recommend that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) should be considered for people who are HIV-negative and at significant risk of acquiring HIV infection.

PrEP may be suitable for:Any sexually active HIV-negative MSM or transgender person who wants PrEP those with HIV-positive sexual partner(s) who are not confirmed virologically suppressed; partner(s) of unknown HIV status; recent STI; multiple sexual partners; history of inconsistent or no condom use; commercial sex work; recurrent PEP users; history of sex whilst under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs. For the article click here

Community-wide HIV prevention strategy can reduce new infections

BizCommunity 5 March 2019 - Findings from HPTN 071 (PopART) study show that delivering a community-based prevention strategy can substantially reduce new HIV infections.

The study was conducted in in urban and peri-urban communities in South Africa and Zambia, and interventions included offering in-home HIV testing to everyone, with immediate referral to HIV care, and treatment for people living with HIV based on prevailing in-country guidelines. For the article click here

Publication date: 3/10/2019