Current news update

17 June 2019

New drugs for breast cancer could replace chemotherapy

Business Day 15 June 2019 – Antibody drug conjugates (ADC) are generating excitement with a breast cancer treatment, which has few side effects

A class of drugs is emerging that can attack cancer cells in the body without damaging surrounding healthy ones. They have the potential to replace chemotherapy and its disruptive side effects, reshaping the future of cancer care. The complex biological medicines, called antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), have been in development for decades, and are now generating renewed excitement because of the success of one ADC in late-stage testing — a breast cancer treatment called DS-8201. Daiichi’s treatment has been seen to double survival time for advanced breast cancer patients to 20 months from 10, former UBS Securities Japan analyst Atsushi Seki said in March. In trials, patients using DS-8201 experienced less nausea and hair loss compared with chemotherapy. For the article click here

Mom whose son was blinded by hospital staff's negligence to get R15.7m payout

Saturday Star 15 June 2019 - The MEC for Health in Mpumalanga has agreed to pay more than R15.7 million in damages to the mother of a 6-year-old boy who is blind after the nursing staff at the Witbank Provincial Hospital exposed him to too much oxygen when he was born.

Renier van Aswegen’s mother, Mary Rossouw, initially claimed more than R19m in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. The health authorities accepted full liability for his blindness and this week agreed to pay a total of R15 714 628 in damages. For the article click here

The three big studies pushing at the frontiers of HIV prevention

BizCommunity 14 June 2019 - New, effective prevention strategies are essential to reducing HIV transmission.

This is why researchers around the world are working hard to find a vaccine that is safe and effective. This requires extensive testing, starting in laboratories and then moving to animal trials. Then comes the crucial human clinical trials. A number of these are underway at the moment, running at different sites in 12 countries across four continents. For the article click here

Hospitals close in Mpumalanga as doctors and nurses fear for their safety

Mail & Guardian 14 June 2019 - Health workers in the province demand security cameras and personal panic buttons at hospitals because of crime and attacks on nurses and doctors.

Three Mpumalanga hospitals are running on skeleton staff and have shut down all outpatient services as workers embark on a stay away to protest a recent spate of attacks on doctors and nurses and unsafe working conditions. For the article click here

Could primary healthcare help curb TB at mines?

BizCommunity 14 June 2019 - Seventy percent of tuberculosis cases among miners go undiagnosed, which puts families and communities at risk.

The risk also spreads across borders, with 40% of mine workers coming from neighbouring countries to work on SA mines. Martin Neethling, head: Sanlam Health Insurance and Distribution, says the benefits of affordable access to on-site primary healthcare could greatly assist to curb the epidemic. For the article click here

Six Soweto clinic staff held hostage by patients demanding treatment

Saturday Star 14 June 2019 - Six clinic employees were allegedly held hostage by an aggrieved member of the public who demanded service after hours, the City of Johannesburg’s MMC for health said on Friday

Councillor Mpho Phalatse, the MMC for health and social development, said she was shocked by the incident which took place at the Protea South Clinic on Thursday afternoon. The clinic operates from 7am to 4pm, but on Thursday, staff had been waiting for an ambulance to transfer a patient to a hospital when two patients arrived and apparently demanded to be serviced at about 4.30pm. For the article click here

Philips upbeat as patients warm to sharing data with doctors

Business Day 13 June 2019 – Health technology company expects sales at its digital care business to grow in 2019

Dutch health technology company Philips expects sales at its digital care business to grow in 2019 as patients see the benefits of sharing more medical data with doctors, CEO Frans van Houten told reporters. Philips’s connected care division offers platforms to remotely monitor patients and for doctors to share patient data. For the article click here

How do we reduce new HIV infections by 60% in a mere three and a half years?

Mail & Guardian 12 June 2019 - Today, SA boasts the world's largest HIV treatment programme, but 3.2-million people who need ARVs still aren't on them. Here’s how to fix that.

We have to keep getting the basics right — and, at the same time, we have to take advantage of the latest science. We need to fight complacency by ensuring that everyone knows what HIV is and how it's transmitted. Young people need to be empowered to choose when they become sexually active so that more of our youth can delay sexual debut. And when they do become sexually active, they must have the knowledge to understand their HIV risk — including that which comes with having multiple partners — and have the tools they need to prevent it. For the article click here

Criminal networks importing fake drugs, US study shows

Business Day 12 June 2019 - EU police agency says counterfeit medicine is a growing threat in Europe

Counterfeit medicine is a growing threat in Europe, causing serious illness or even death and costing the pharmaceutical industry billions every year, according to a study published Wednesday.  Criminal networks are producing an “increasingly diverse range of medicines”, including drugs to treat serious illnesses such as cancer, the EU’s police agency Europol and its intellectual property office (EUIPO) said in a report. For the article click here

CMS announces head of investigation into alleged discrimination

Medical Brief 12 June 2019 - The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has announced that Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi will head an investigation into alleged discrimination against black and Indian medical professionals in the private health sector, reports Polity.

The investigation was launched following allegations by members of the National Health Care Professionals Association (NHCPA) that they were being unfairly treated and their claims withheld by medical aid schemes based on the colour of their skin and ethnicity. For the article click here

Patient tied to bench: Don’t blame the nurse, says union

Medical Brief 12 June 2019 - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in Gauteng has defended a nurse who was implicated in the Mamelodi Hospital incident

A Mamelodi Hospital incident in which a 76-year-old patient was tied to a bench in a waiting area last week, sparked social media outrage. The Citizen reports that the nurse was implicated, along with three doctors and a security guard, and has been issued with a letter of intention to suspend by the Gauteng Health Department, which is conducting an investigation into the incident where Martha Marais was tied to a bench while lying on the floor. For the article click here

Flu season has started but no cause for alarm — NICD

Medical Brief 12 June 2019 - There is no influenza outbreak in South Africa, other than the normal increase of cases expected during winter, News24 quotes the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) as saying. 

“Every year in South Africa, we see a marked increase in influenza transmission during the winter, called the influenza season,” the NICD said. “During this period, people infected with influenza increases, including patients seeking outpatient care and hospitalised individuals.” For the article click here

Northern Cape premier spends on new ambulances, not limos

Medical Brief 12 June 2019 - New Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul has made good on his promise to cut spending on cars for his provincial executive, instead choosing to direct that money towards buying new ambulances for the province.

Polity reports that in his recent inaugural address, Saul stated that “cars for MECs will be purchased on basis of absolute necessity and by the approval of the Premier. All unused monies budgeted for new cars for MECs must be directed to the Northern Cape Health Department to augment the budget to purchase ambulances”. For the article click here

Hospital-acquired infections in SA hospitals are on the rise, especially in children

BizCommunity 11 June 2019 - A rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria means that many patients end up worse off as a result of infections acquired within the hospital setting.

Kirstie Haslam, partner at DSC Attorneys, says that since 2004, the threat of super-bugs, highly drug-resistant bacteria, has been growing in South African hospitals. “Some estimates put a patient’s risk of hospital-acquired infections in state hospitals at one in five and many of these infections are caused by super-bugs,” she adds. For the article click here

Publication date: 6/17/2019