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Policy and Law

Stronger measures, tighter controls needed in Africa to curb growing tobacco use

Although average global smoking rates have fallen over the past 12 years, some countries have seen an increase in the habit, mainly in Africa,...

CMS anger over claim it’s depriving South Africans of basic private healthcare

The medical regulator has reacted sharply to an accusation at the Board of Healthcare Funders conference that its “prevarication and stalling” over basic medical...

New DoH guidelines for mother, baby care during COVID

The National Department of Health has released new guidelines relating to mother and newborn care. Writing in The Conversation, Jeannette Wessels and Ute Feucht...

Ban on affirmative action had ‘devastating impact’ on diversity at US med schools

In US states that have banned affirmative action programmes, the proportion of students from under-represented racial and ethnic minority groups in public medical schools...

Trans women in female sports: Fairness and inclusion can’t always be balanced

Any debate on transgender participation must start by asking why women’s sports exist as a category, says South African sports scientist Ross Tucker, in...

Regulatory approval of flucytosine just a first step in treating of cryptococcal meningitis

Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is one of the leading causes of death – second only to tuberculosis – in people living with HIV. And yet,...

An IP waiver will not help Africa – it’s about a ‘scarcity of vaccinations, not vaccines’

It was “stunning” that the proposed Intellectual Property (IP) waiver for COVID-19 vaccines was still being debated, given that the problem had shifted from...

Health and safety office regs need updating for remote workers

Home offices and remote work-stations have become widely accepted, meaning many health and safety regulations related to offices have become outdated, writes labour law...

Compensation Fund Bill: Minister has ‘irrational hatred’ of third-party administrators

Despite all objections and against all reason, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has refused to abandon objectionable proposed amendments to the Compensation Fund regulations, writes...

Why US and SA regulators are being taken to court over Pfizer’s vaccine

Both US and South African medicines’ regulators have been inundated with requests for information about COVID vaccines and other treatments and devices – and...

A challenging deluge of pandemic-related legislation

The Department of Health’s new measures for managing the coronavirus pandemic, along with the simultaneous release Labour & Employment’s new code of conduct for...

US moves to limit transgender treatments for young Americans

Despite advice from medical organisations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, proposed legislation and a...

Botched botox and the UK’s legislative crackdown on ‘cosmetic cowboysʼ

In response to an increase in botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures, the UK is introducing legislation to curb “cosmetic cowboys” through new licensing regulations, writes...

Budget 2022: A small nod to harm reduction as Treasury widens tax net

The introduction in South Africa of a tax on heated tobacco products such as e-cigarettes – at 25% less than combustible cigarettes – gives...

South African government has ‘quietly de-prioritised vaccinations’

Vaccine uptake has dropped dramatically and there appears to be no push from the president or the national Department of Health to change this,...

Poles apart: Starkly divergent views on NHI before parliamentary committee

The parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health heard starkly divergent views on the likely effect of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, writes MedicalBrief. The...

High costs and no benefits: Why SA’s COVID-19 regulations had to change

South Africa’s isolation and quarantine protocols have been changed because they carried high societal costs and delivered no discernible public health benefit in light...

Denmark scraps all COVID laws, despite surge in infections

On Monday (1 February), Denmark became the first country to end all COVID-related laws, while Norway has scrapped most, writes MedicalBrief. The decision all...

How COVID gave African countries the opportunity to improve public health

The COVID-19 pandemic tested public health care systems in Africa. It exposed weaknesses, gaps and inequalities – but also some potential solutions – argues...

Gender Commission joins opposition to mandatory vaccination policies

The South African Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has warned against “trampling on human rights” with mandatory vaccinations and “harsh sanctions” against employees and...

Theranos: A cautionary tale on how not to commercialise medical advances

The fraud conviction of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, the infamous biotech chief executive who promised to revolutionise blood testing, holds important lessons for biotechnology...

Face mask laws link to significantly fewer COVID deaths — 44-nation study

A study of the impact of national face mask laws on COVID-19 mortality in 44 countries with a combined population of nearly a billion...

Vaccine ‘passport’ for public venues boosts jab rate — 6 nation study

Introducing vaccine certificates to control entry to public venues increases vaccine uptake, found the first large-scale study on the impact of a certificate system. The...

Mandatory vaccinations: 'Ethical and necessary’ in South Africa

There is a strong ethical case to be made for mandatory vaccinations in South Africa, writes writes Stellenbosch University’s Professor Keymanthri Moodley. This is...

Mandatory vaccinations: ‘South Africa’s looming vaccine revolt’

Division over a looming “proxy house arrest” could destroy a fragile South Africa, writes former Sunday Times editor Brian Pottinger on UnHerd. Banning access...

Mandatory vaccinations imminent in South Africa

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus and the slower than anticipated South African take-up of vaccinations, there has been...

First firings and retrenchments of unvaccinated workers in SA

While COVID-19 vaccines are not yet mandatory in South Africa, some employers have started firing or retrenching unvaccinated employees, writes MedicalBrief. Commission for Conciliation, Mediation...

Why SA isnʼt ready for health claims on food labels

There is a sustained pressure from activists for legislation to modify many of the  negative facets of dietary and lifestyle behaviour, writes MedicalBrief. A...

SA homicides 7x global average, with sharp force the major cause of death

The Medical Research Council’s 2nd Injury Mortality Survey found that homicide in South Africa was seven times higher than the global average, accounting for...

Pandemic shows the limitations to dictating ‘good’ public behaviour

The hypothesis of the outside world and a strident international media was that Sweden’s attempt to maintain a semblance of normality in the face...

Regulating indigenous medicine may be constitutionally difficult

Proposals before the Mexican legislature to regulated and control the practice of indigenous and complementary medicine could violate the country’s constitution and international conventions,...

South Africa and Kenya ‘regressing’ on smoking reduction via excise taxes

Raising excise taxes on cigarettes is the most effective measure to reduce smoking, writes Prof Corne Van Walbeek, director of the Research Unit on...

Doctors in new turf war with pharmacists over ‘unlawful and unfair’ competition

Proposed changes to the Pharmacy Guidelines are “unlawful, unfair and not in the patients’ best interests”, says the SA Medical Association , while the...

Discovery’s move on staff vaccination adds impetus to ‘proof of vaccination’ policies

Health giant Discovery is the first JSE-listed company to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff, in response to “a strong moral imperative”, writes MedicalBrief. It’s...

Discovery’s move on staff vaccination adds impetus to ‘proof of vaccination’ policies

Health giant Discovery is the first JSE-listed company to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff, in response to “a strong moral imperative”, writes MedicalBrief. It’s...

The debate over a mandatory vaccine policy for South Africa

Last week Stellenbosch University bioethicist Prof Keymanthri Moodley argued in MedicalBrief the case for mandatory vaccines in South Africa. Two academics from the University...

Governments’ quest for ‘zero COVID’ faces increasing public resistance

Following the arrival of the Delta variant, the quest for “zero COVID” by means of lockdown is faltering, with the medical evidence ambivalent and...

COVID-19 vaccinations should be mandatory in South Africa

In recent months, the question of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination or limitations on those who choose not to be vaccinated has become a hot topic,...

Why Uganda's Human Sacrifice legislation was necessary

A major difficulty in stamping it out “human sacrifice” cases is finding and prosecuting  the shadowy people in the background who pay for or...

Report recommends occupational health and safety plan for SA

A report commissioned by the Department of Employment & Labour and the UN’s International Labour Organisation has recommended that SA develops a national policy...