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2020/11/062020/11/10 09:48 AM

Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla says the government’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) “will go a long way” to prepare the country for future pandemics.

On Thursday, he told delegates in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) the NHI would remove the division between the public and private sector ensuring a much quicker response to major pandemics like Covid-19.
2020/11/062020/11/10 09:50 AM

Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla has insisted that the government would implement the National Health Insurance and the Covid-19 outbreak has laid a solid foundation for universal health coverage.

The NHI has been in the making for some time after the government announced 10 districts as pilot sites across the country.
2020/11/062020/11/10 09:53 AM

Government says if the National Health Insurance (NHI) had been implemented earlier, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could have been managed in a much better and effective way.

The primary objective of the NHI would be to provide universal access to health care to all South Africans on an equal footing, irrespective of their ability to pay for services.
2020/11/10 10:01 AM

Globally, day surgery hospitals have changed the experience of patients by offering an alternative to acute or conventional hospital surgery. In SA, the concept of day hospitals is gaining popularity — particularly as a result of high hospital costs.

Lee Callakoppen, principal officer of Bonitas Medical Fund, reveals that direct hospital costs were 43% of the total scheme expenditure, according to its hospital dashboard for the full 2019 year. These excluded doctor and allied services while a patient was in hospital.

2020/11/10 09:42 AM

Winde has called for caution and vigilance in the wake of increases in confirmed Covid-19 cases in the George and Bitou areas of the Garden Route.

The Western Cape premier’s warning comes after holidaymakers were linked to an increase in Covid-19 cases in Bitou, said the provincial health department.
2020/11/10 09:44 AM

The coronavirus pandemic is having a knock-on effect on other vital health services in Africa as countries are forced to redirect already stretched resources, a regional head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.

The continent of more than a 1-billion people has been spared the worst consequences of Covid-19, with relatively lower death rates and infections seen elsewhere.
2020/11/052020/11/10 09:54 AM

The Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) hosted a webinar on “National Health Insurance (NHI) and Covid-19”.  Panellists included Dr Stan Moloabi, Principal Officer at GEMS; Dr Aquina Thulare, Technical Advisor on NHI, Department of Health (DoH) and Dr Nicholas Crisp, Public Health Specialist and now working with the Minister of Health on implementation of the NHI Fund. It was moderated by Michael Avery, Financial journalist and presenter for Business Day TV.

Upsides to the Covid-19 pandemic: parents being able to spend more time with their kids, folks across the globe honing their baking skills, and for the team working on National Health Insurance (NHI), a breakthrough in terms of collaboration.
2020/11/10 09:56 AM

SA operates a two-tiered health-care system: a public sector, which caters for about 80% of the country’s population, and a private sector, which caters for about a fifth of the population, funded primarily by members of either open or restricted medical schemes. The high cost of private medical aid puts it out of reach of most South Africans.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of quality health care. SA’s Covid-19 response showed that the public and private health-care sectors can co-operate. As the country tries to move towards the proposed model of universal health care under National Health Insurance (NHI), the critical issue now is how it will work and be funded. Has the public-private partnership achieved during the Covid-19 pandemic laid the foundation for a successful NHI?
2020/11/052020/11/10 09:58 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped renew respect for community health workers (CHWs) both among other health workers and the communities they serve, public health experts say. But they warn this won’t be enough to put the country’s community health worker programme, which has faced barriers for years, on a more sound footing as workers across the country prepare for a nationwide strike.

Workers demand that they be made permanent employees of provincial health departments — with higher salaries, as well as medical aid and pension benefits — instead of being outsourced to non-profits that pay them stipends or working under temporary provincial health department contracts.
2020/11/042020/11/10 09:04 AM

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has praised Aspen Pharmacare's plans to partner with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture, package and distribute a candidate Covid-19 vaccine locally, once it was successfully registered in the country.

Earlier this week, the pharmaceutical group announced the Covid-19 vaccine would be produced at its existing sterile facility in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.
2020/11/10 09:39 AM

The University of Oxford hopes to present late-stage trial results on its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in 2020, though its top scientific investigator cautioned it would still take some time for life to return to normal.

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.2-million people worldwide, shuttered swathes of the global economy and turned normal life upside down for billions of people.
2020/11/042020/11/10 09:46 AM

Opposition MPs said such a decision should only be considered once they had the facts about parliament’s internal capacity to do the job

In a surprise move, MPs voted on Tuesday to rescind their decision to outsource processing the tens of thousands of written submissions received in response to the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

2020/11/032020/11/10 09:02 AM

Africa is in the running to get a Covid-19 vaccine, but there will be only 220 million doses available in the initial stage, said medical experts at a panel discussion on Africa’s response to the pandemic.

African countries need to get involved in Covid-19 vaccine development to ensure sufficient access once a vaccine is developed.
2020/11/032020/11/10 09:27 AM

Agreement will enable drugmaker to use spare manufacturing capacity and bring down overhead costs, says CEO

SA’s biggest pharmaceutical manufacturer, Aspen Pharmacare, has signed a preliminary agreement to produce the candidate Covid-19 vaccine being developed by US drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (J&J) at its Port Elizabeth site, it announced on Monday.
2020/11/10 09:38 AM

CureVac's experimental Covid-19 vaccine triggered an immune response in humans, the German biotech firm said on Monday, putting it on track to start mass testing this year as the race to end the pandemic heats up.

“We are very encouraged by the interim phase 1 data,” CEO Franz-Werner Haas said in a statement.
2020/11/10 09:40 AM

Containing Covid-19 requires testing of individuals and isolating those who test positive, together with recent contacts, to prevent further spread and it is therefore critical to ensure that testing is independently verified to assure its accuracy.

Given the urgent need to ramp up testing, a team from the University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits') Centre for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research (CBTBR) has developed a unique “control standard” to undertake this for certain diagnostic testing platforms.
2020/10/232020/10/27 03:03 PM

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has stuck to his guns that the Western Cape recorded a 42% spike in Covid-19 infections, despite Premier Alan Winde disputing this.

Mkhize said a detailed outbreak response was being compiled, after he broke the news on Wednesday night when he tweeted that the Western Cape had experienced a “significant spike”.
2020/10/232020/10/27 03:04 PM

Lester Kiewit asks Dr Saadiq Kariem whether the Western Cape is heading towards a second wave of coronavirus infections.

With much talk of a second wave of coronavirus in Europe, Cape Talk's Lester Kiewit asks the Western Cape Department of Health's senior doctor whether we're in danger of a similar resurgence.
2020/10/232020/10/27 03:06 PM

In recent days, health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned about a marked increase in new Covid-19 infections as a result of declining adherence to measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and hand washing. The United States and many western European countries are experiencing a dramatic resurgence, often called a ‘second wave’, of the coronavirus.

Does this mean a second wave is inevitable in South Africa?

In South Africa, the possibility of such a resurgence has seemingly justified the extension of the powers of the National Covid-19 Command Council (NCCC), under the legal framework of the National Disaster Management Act.
2020/10/232020/10/27 03:07 PM

Is it time to stop panicking about this pandemic?

Global media, including our own, continue to fixate on the headline number of cases, but not as much coverage is given to what the death rates or hospitalisation numbers will look like in any ’second wave’.
2020/10/232020/10/27 03:08 PM

As of the time of writing (mid-October 2020), there is much talk in South Africa about a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19. In Europe, it is much more than talk, with COVID-19 diagnoses, hospital admissions, and deaths, not to mention ‘restrictions’, all on the rise.

Studies looking for antibodies in community surveys suggest that in most of Europe and North America a far smaller proportion of people have anti-COVID antibodies than what we see in developing world settings like India and Africa, including South Africa. This implies that there is currently more immunity here and people have been wondering out loud whether we have sufficient ‘herd immunity’ to avoid our own ‘second wave’, and for how long.
2020/10/232020/10/27 03:11 PM

Suid-Afrika is op die punt om die omstrede nasionale gesondheidsversekering (NGV van stapel te stuur – ’n ambisieuse, maar kontroversiële plan om gratis gesondheidsorg van hoë gehalte aan alle Suid-Afrikaners te verskaf – deur die hulpbronne van die openbare en private sektor saam te snoer en ’n enkele staatsentiteit te vestig, om hul dienste te verkry en daarvoor te betaal.

Terwyl daar geen argumente teen die uiteindelike doelwit is om gesondheidsorg vir die meeste Suid-Afrikaners in ’n uiters ongelyke samelewing te verbeter nie, is daar wydverspreide kommer oor die drastiese hervorming wat in die NGV voorgestel word – wat kritici sê die land se hele gesondheidstelsel in duie kan laat stort.
2020/10/202020/10/27 03:05 PM

A second wave of Covid-19 infections is inevitable as taverns and nightclubs become super-spreaders of the virus.

The warning was issued by Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19.
2020/10/192020/10/27 03:09 PM

Some schemes are hoping for hikes of up to 8%, despite healthy reserves due to Covid-19

Discovery Health’s announcement that it will delay its customary January contributions’ increases until mid-2021 means the hike for the year will be in the region of 3%, but some of its competitors are proposing far higher increases.
2020/10/182020/10/27 03:02 PM

A group of more than 40 South African academics, researchers and teachers have joined the international support for the South African and Indian governments’ proposal that global intellectual property rights should not apply to Covid-19 medicines. In addition, this group argues these reforms must be applied to South Africa for it to be effective.

The laws governing intellectual property differ from country to country. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) introduced the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement in 1995 in order to have a basic global framework to protect and enforce these rights. This way, intellectual property could be traded on an equal footing and more easily across borders. Each country must honour this framework when dealing with the intellectual property rights of nationals from other WTO member countries.
2020/10/162020/10/20 09:46 AM

Nine months into the pandemic, Europe remains one of the regions worst affected by COVID-19. Ten of the 20 countries with the highest death count per million people are European. The other ten are in the Americas. This includes the US, which has the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the world.

Most of Africa and Asia, on the contrary, still seems spared. Of the countries with reported COVID-19 related deaths, the ten with the lowest death count per million are in these parts of the world. But while mistakes and misjudgements have fuelled sustained criticism of the UK’s handling of the pandemic, the success of much of the developing world remains unsung.
2020/10/152020/10/20 09:44 AM

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that allowing Covid-19 to spread freely in the hope of achieving herd immunity is "simply unethical."

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that herd immunity — where a large portion of a community becomes immune to a virus, limiting its spread — must come through a vaccination, and cannot be achieved by allowing people to become infected.
2020/10/152020/10/20 09:47 AM

Voorgestelde wysigings aan Suid-Afrika se regulasies vir aanmeldbare mediese toestande sal aan dr. Zweli Mkhize, minister van gesondheid, en die uitvoerende gesag onbeperkte magte gee om Suid-Afrikaners se regte eensydig tydens pandemies in te perk, meen die DA.

Dit is daarom volgens Siviwe Gwarube, DA-LP en woordvoerder oor gesondheid, noodsaaklik dat die hele parlement daaroor moet besluit en dat Mkhize nie toegelaat moet word om dit “deur die agterdeur, in die middel van die nag en net 24 uur voordat die (huidige) nasionale ramptoestand verstryk”, te probeer deurvoer nie.

2020/10/152020/10/20 09:50 AM

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has promised an aggressive “catch-up” drive to restore community health services and persuade people to seek health care as the country emerges from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a webinar to mark the start of the seventh annual Rotary Family Health Day outreach programme, Mkhize said it was imperative that SA did not squander any gains made during the pandemic.
2020/10/142020/10/20 09:39 AM

Johnson & Johnson halted clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine after a participant fell ill, the second time that a front-runner developer has paused testing in the race to create a viable immunization against the virus.

The participant’s illness is being evaluated, the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company said late Monday, adding that it would share information after further investigation. J&J shares fell 2.4% in trading before U.S. exchanges opened. The vaccine is undergoing tests in as many as 60,000 volunteers from Peru to South Africa.
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