27 January 2019

Patients will pay the price for delays to HMI, say activists

Business Day 24 January 2019 The Health Market Inquiry report was originally due in 2015, but has been serially delayed — this time on worries of over-spending

Patients will pay the price for the latest delay in the Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry (HMI), which has been suspended until the start of the new financial year in April due to budget constraints, says lobby group Section 27. The HMI’s final report is expected to provide important evidence and analysis to guide health reforms for the private sector. Its delay will have a knock-on effect on reforms that have the potential to make quality healthcare more affordable, warned Section 27. For the article click here

Bill Gates keeps pushing for disease-free world amid growing scepticism

Business Day 28 January 2019 -At Davos, the billionaire philanthropist made his case for saving lives as the world's priority even during a shift in global politics

And Gates was there to make the case for these very governments to sign up to funding for global health initiatives in developing countries — far away places that are hardly at the top of priority lists for their electorates. One of the initiatives in which the foundation has spent about $10bn in the past two decades and more, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria hopes to raise about $14bn by October 2019 in its latest replenishment. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister of Nigeria, is set to follow suit in 2020. For the article click here

500 Netcare staff facing the chop

Business Day 27 January 2019 - Hospital group Netcare plans to retrench over 500 employees as it seeks to cut costs following a failed offshore expansion and amid a tough economic environment in SA.

Group employment relations manager Ramasela Mokonyama confirmed that section 189 notices had been issued to inform staff that the company would begin consultations on the "proposed structural review within its hospital division". No nurses working in patient care are included in the retrenchment process, which the company said was restricted to staff employed in other divisions. For the article click here

Health Squared eyes young adult market

Business Day 27 January 2019 - New medical aid Health Squared Medical Scheme has set its sights on snapping up young adults entering the workplace

Competition from SA's three biggest schemes - Discovery Health Medical Scheme, Bonitas Medical Fund and Momentum Health - is stiff in an industry with stagnant growth. Health Squared, which became active this month, is the result of a merger between Resolution Health and Spectramed and has 45,000 beneficiaries and R210m in reserves. For the article click here

In SA, antenatal care is literally the difference between life and death

Business Day 27 January 2019 - Often, access to appropriate care for pregnant women and girls can be as simple, or as complicated, as adequate transport

Amnesty International’s 2014 report, “Struggle for maternal health”, based on research in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, highlighted that too many women and girls were dying needlessly in SA during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth. Some things have improved since then. Currently, the South African government recommends that women and girls begin their antenatal care visits from 14 weeks into their pregnancies, but most only seek antenatal care after 20 weeks. For the article click here

Immunisation coverage stagnating in Africa

BizCommunity 25 January 2019 - Over the past five years, immunisation coverage in sub-Saharan Africa has stagnated at 72%.

Global immunisation experts attending the biannual Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) meeting urged African countries to strengthen their routine immunisation. The immunisation experts also emphasised the importance of increased domestic investment in disease surveillance and the need for community engagement to drive vaccine deployment during outbreaks. For the article click here

Ebola survivors turn into disease fighters as DRC outbreak rages on

Business Day 24 January 2019 - Dozens of former patients are helping health workers dispel rumours about the epidemic

Dozens of Congolese Ebola survivors are dispelling rumours and caring for patients and lone children in the world’s second deadliest outbreak, health workers said on Thursday. The virus is spreading fast in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, with 713 confirmed and probable cases and 439 deaths. It is surpassed only by the 2014-2016 outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, in which more than 11000 people died. For the article click here

Yale scientists examine how an immune system protein helps suppress HIV

BizCommunity 23 January 2019 - A new study by Yale investigators reveals the role of a protein that serves to block HIV gene expression once it has entered human cells.

While more research is needed, note the scientists, the study suggests that A3A is a potential focus for therapies designed to suppress HIV.  “It may be a good target for blocking HIV that’s integrated in cells,” said Iwasaki. For the article click here

SA steps up government funding for neglected diseases

Business Day 23 January 2019 - Even though SA increased its investments in research on neglected diseases in 2017, it still fell shy of the goals set by WHO

The government significantly increased its investments in research on neglected diseases in 2017, but still fell shy of the goals set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to a report released on Wednesday. SA’s public sector invested $14m in neglected diseases research in 2017, a 24% increase on the year before. This made it the 11th biggest contributor to the global public funding pool of $2.318bn, according to the latest annual G-Finder report from Policy Cures Research, a health consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. For the article click here

No jobs, no vote, say angry nurses

BizCommunity 22 January 2019 - "No jobs, no vote," shouted disgruntled nurses who marched to the provincial health department in Pietermaritzburg on Friday

Hundreds of nurses carried placards and handed over a memorandum demanding that unemployed nurses be employed by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health. Nurses from the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA) were part of the march. For the article click here

Philip Hampton to step down as Glaxo CEO ahead of split

Business Day 21 January 2019 - In December, CEO Emma Walmsley noted a plan to split Glaxo into two units: one for prescription drugs and vaccines, the other for OTC products

GlaxoSmithKline chair Philip Hampton will step down after more than three-and-a-half years in the role, as Britain's biggest drug maker prepares to split its business into two. The announcement comes a month after Glaxo's CEO, Emma Walmsley, announced her boldest plans yet — to split the company into two businesses — one for prescription drugs and vaccines, the other for over-the-counter products. For the article click here

WHO deliberations unlikely to be beneficial to drug patent holders

Business Day 21 January 2019 - The world health body failing to realise that exclusive rights to new drugs incentivize industry’s innovation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is holding its annual executive board meeting in Geneva this week. The meeting sets the agenda and proposed resolutions for its world health assembly in May, when health ministers gather to debate global health issues and set future policies. One of the many action items on the agenda is to “foster innovation and access to health products by appropriate intellectual property rules and management”. It is unlikely that we will see innovative thinking from a board that continues to presume patents are a major barrier to access to medicines, and thus a major obstacle to health and development. For the article click here

Publication date: 1/27/2019