Current news update

14 July 2019

Zweli Mkhize to unpack health insurance bill after green light from cabinet

Business Day 11 July 2019 – DA says it will oppose the current National Health Insurance Bill because the proposal has not been costed and its feasibility has not been tested

Health minister Zweli Mkhize will on Friday unpack the details of the approved National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which is aimed at providing universal health coverage for South Africans. Jackson Mthembu, minister in the presidency for planning, monitoring & evaluation, announced on Thursday that cabinet had finally approved the controversial bill but did not provide any details on it. Mkhize was set to brief the media on the bill ahead of his budget vote address in parliament on Friday morning. The DA labelled cabinet’s approval “premature, irresponsible and simply disastrous”. For the article click here

J&J to begin trial of experimental HIV vaccine later in 2019

Business Day 14 July 2019 - About 3,800 men who have sex with men will receive a regimen of injections, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci says

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is preparing to test an experimental HIV vaccine in the US and Europe in a move toward developing the first immunisation against the deadly disease after decades of frustration. For the article click here

NHI Bill approved, ready soon

Saturday Star 13 July 2019 – Health Minister says National Treasury has set aside more than R200 million for structure in the next three years

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has insisted that government will roll out the National Health Insurance (NHI) despite opposition from some parties. Mkhize told parliament that the NHI Bill will be tabled in the national legislature soon. The NHI, once formally established , will be a government entity that will be run by a team. The Minister said they are sending a team of 30 managers from across the country to be trained on NHI in Japan, the UK, France and the Eurozone. The government would however NOT quantify how much it would cost for the full roll-out of the NHI. Mkhize said what is important is that there would be universal coverage for all people including the poor.

2019 cold, flu season severe and prolonged

Saturday Star 13 July 2019 – The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has declared the 2019 flu season worse than last year.

The NICD said the risk of contracting these respiratory illnesses extends until October. “There has been a marked increase in flu and pneumonia cases in South Africa compared to last year, said Pharma Dynamics spokesperson Nicole Jennings.

The health minister presents the bare bones of the NHI Bill

Business Day 12 July 2019 - Zweli Mkhize’s address at the department budget vote of R51bn focused on fixing the healthcare system and its ‘dilapidated’ infrastructure

Health minister Zweli Mkhize and his team presented the skeleton of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill on Friday morning, but did not flesh out the details, including what the costing and economic impact would be. The long expected draft law, approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, is aimed at giving effect to an ANC resolution to create a uiversal healthcare system that will replace the current broken public medical service. For the article click here

Europe’s syphilis rate soars 70% since 2010

Business Day 12 July 2019 - Since the early 2000s, syphilis has become more common in some countries than new cases of HIV, health experts say

Reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease are up by 70% since 2010, a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed – with the rise driven by more unprotected sex and riskier sexual behaviour among gay men. For the article click here

South African researchers develop quicker way to detect drug resistance

BizCommunity 11 July 2019 - It is crucial to monitor patients taking the new drug for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), bedaquiline, to prevent resistance.

Scientists from Stellenbosch University (SU), the University of Cape Town (UCT) and international colleagues published their finding in the New England Journal of Medicine They studied a 65-year-old, HIV-negative man, who was diagnosed with MDR-TB. Despite the treatment he developed resistance to bedaquiline two months into treatment. For the article click here

Jackson Mthembu says cabinet has approved NHI Bill for tabling in parliament

Business Day 11 July 2019 The proposed legislation will be considered by the National Assembly and the NCOP, and go through public consultation before it can be implemented

The cabinet has finally approved the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill for tabling in parliament, minister in the presidency for planning, monitoring and evaluation Jackson Mthembu said on Thursday.  He said in a briefing that in 2018, the cabinet had approved the bill for release for public consultation over a three month period from June 2018 to September 2018. The input following that process has now been incorporated in the latest version of the Bill. For the article click here

NHCPA’s ‘racial profiling’ action thrown out of court

Medical Brief 10 July 2019 - The National Health Care Professionals Association‘s crusade against ‘racial profiling’ took a blow when its court application against 19 medical schemes was thrown out 

The NHCPA had no legal authority to bring the action and, embarrassingly, some of the complainants were alleged to have engaged in medical fraud. It is estimated that fraudulent practices cost medical aid scheme members somewhere between R22bn and R28bn a year, constituting about 25% of all premiums paid by South Africa’s 8.8m medical aid members. For the article click here

Ebola spread in Africa raises questions about WHO’s priorities

Business Day 9 July 2019 - The World Health Organisation is more concerned with enabling governments to paternalistically control the lifestyle choices of their people

The UN’s World Health Organisation's (WHO's) core mandate is to be found in Article 23(f) of the Covenant of the League of Nations, the UN’s predecessor, which enjoined member states to “endeavour to take steps in matters of international concern for the prevention and control of disease”. Today, however, the WHO is more concerned with enabling governments around the world to paternalistically control the lifestyle choices of their people. This diversion of attention has arguably caused the WHO to make monumental mistakes that place public health in grave danger. For the article click here

Publication date: 7/14/2019