Monday, 26 February, 2024
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Talking Points

Failure to tackle SA’s food crisis harks back to Aids denialism

This year is likely to be tumultuous in South Africa, with social unrest aggravated by electoral politicking, and rapidly growing food insecurity – and...

Medical brain drain puts SA in dire position

South African medical professionals are highly sought after and valued globally, and many are now leaving the country because of a lack of trust...

Is Covid guilty of 'immunity theft'?

Since 2021, children, globally, have been afflicted with respiratory illnesses earlier and in greater numbers than usual, the surging case numbers fuelling an ongoing...

Is vaccination approaching a dangerous tipping point?

Vaccination is one of the most highly effective public health interventions, responsible for saving millions of lives each year, yet an increasing number of...

The importance of UHC in Nigeria – Wakley Prize winning essay

Thomas Wakley, who founded The Lancet in 1823, would be astounded by medicine today. Progress over the past two centuries has been remarkable. Antiseptics and anaesthetics...

Poor people also have a right to medicine

We must have the courage to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry, because no one – anywhere – should die just because of their...

The quest for pills to thwart long Covid – is it worth it?

Up to one in five people can get long Covid, but a drug called Paxlovid can lower the chance of developing the long-haul version...

Antidepressants link to sexual problems a bigger issue than thought?

It’s long been known that antidepressants can cause sexual problems, with more than half of all people taking the drugs reporting various side effects...

Time for a dedicated NCD fund to tackle diabetes?

Although Africa bears the biggest burden of diabetes, with an estimated 24m people who have the condition, the continent lags behind in access to...

Concern as diabetes deaths double in past decade

Deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are rising in South Africa, the increase being particularly startling because overall, the country has been recording a...

How drug industry payments to doctors affect patient care

Influence of industry payments on physicians’ behaviour is well established, and commonly known, but findings of recent research suggest this influence has the potential...

SA policy uncertainty a major obstacle to organ donation

Despite a desperate need for transplant organs, and some focus on encouraging people to sign up as donors, confusing law and gaps in policy...

Global health-financing mechanism key to UHC

No one questions the value of universal health coverage, writes SA Medical Journal editor Bridget Farham, but what the concept requires – worldwide, especially...

Global South should learn from Big Pharma’s bullying of SA

The extortionate vaccine contracts the South African Government signed during the pandemic demonstrate why achieving pharmaceutical sovereignty should be a priority for all developing...

Why SA men have much higher TB mortality risk than women

In South Africa, men are 70% more likely to develop TB and die from the disease, compared with women, write Mmamapudi Kubjane of Wits...

Rural health congress calls for more clinical associates

South Africa faces chronic healthcare worker shortages, particularly in rural areas, with the Human Resources for Health Strategy 2030 warning of an an impending...

The decades-long struggle to get ineffective decongestant off the shelves

Dr Leslie Hendeles began prodding the US Food and Drug Administration to reject a decongestant in cold medicines decades ago – when Bill Clinton...

Time to rethink 37° Celsius as 'normal' temperature?

Every branch of science has its constants, and if there are any in medicine, normal body temperature – 37° Celsius – might just be...

Misinformation on postpartum depression ‘risks lives’

South Africa has an alarmingly high prevalence of postpartum depression (PPD) – studies report 30%-35% of women are diagnosed with major depressive disorder in...

Do regular cancer screenings extend life?

Scientists say that their recent review of clinical trials involving more than 2.1m people who had six kinds of common tests for cancer found...

Mediclinic claims erodes trust in private healthcare and NHI

The private healthcare industry is right to be nervous that potential fraud will give NHI proponents proper ammunition, writes Helena Wasserman in News24. Even if...

The retreat of radiation, mainstay of cancer treatment

With more advanced tools being designed to fight cancers – and with better engineered cancer-killing cells, immunotherapies and targeted drugs helping clinicians cure more...

Should specialist nurses be allowed to use the Dr title?

Legislation defining who should be allowed to use the 'doctor' title, and especially whether specialist nurses were allowed to do so, have created sharp...

Dickason trial churns up difficult parenting issues

The New Zealand trial of South African doctor Lauren Dickason, dubbed Killer Mum after the murder of her three daughters, raises difficult questions about...

Antibiotic to fight STDs is double-edged sword, say experts

US public health officials are deploying a powerful new weapon in the war against rising sexually transmitted infections: a common antibiotic that works as...

Assisted suicide ethical dilemma for psychiatrists

I remember what it was like to be a medical student at a well-known cancer hospital where patients were dying of cancer, writes Dinah Miller...

Counting the cost of fatal misdiagnoses – BMJ study

A recent study has estimated that overlooking a disease, or diagnosing it erroneously or late, results in 371 000 people dying in the US...

SA’s patent system denies vital drug access

Affordable and lifesaving medication is often still unattainable in South Africa, thanks to high costs and restricted availability, enabled by patent monopolies and a...

Another global agency raises flag about aspartame's cancer risk

The controversy over artificial sweetener aspartame continues, with a global research agency raising a cautious red flag about its link to liver cancer, following...

US doctors rake in millions from unnecessary atherectomies

American doctors are raking in billions of dollars for unnecessary, often reckless surgery – costing patients their limbs and risking their lives – in...

Australia starts world-first psychedelics therapy but experts divided

As Australia became the first country in the world to classify psychedelics as medicines last week, major health organisations have urged caution, even as...

Medical sector helps facilitate global illegal organ trade

Perceptions of the illegal organ trade are that it is an underground crime, organised by mafia-like criminals and “rogue” doctors who perform transplants clandestinely,...

NHI pilots point to critical fault lines

Before plunging into its own concept of universal health care (UHC), and the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, the government and...

Caution vital for combined herb-drug use

The WHO estimates that 60% to 80% of South Africans use herbal products to treat health problems, the statistic being attributed to the diversity...

How Africa can boost local health manufacturing, procurement

Supporting South Africa and Africa’s capacity to manufacture vaccines and other medical products is a complex and challenging task with real public health consequences,...

What's behind SA's nursing crisis?

Looming retirements, training amendments and provicial budget problems are all contributing to the critical nurse shortages in the country. The dire situation, as well as...

SA's free methadone project to help whip heroin habit

Within the next five years, South Africa plans to make medicines like methadone, a safer fix for people who inject opioids like heroin, available...

Drug shortage fears as supply chain challenges persist

While Covid-19 had a serious impact on many countries’ healthcare supply chains, including in South Africa, the global industry was in trouble long before...

Fifty reasons why the NHI will not work

As the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health concluded its clause-by-clause deliberations on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill last week, Michele Clarke, DA Shadow...

Under-pressure medical schemes need innovative, affordable solutions

With private healthcare growing increasingly out of reach of anyone outside the top income brackets, it’s time for the industry to devise solutions that...