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Cape Town faces ICU bed shortage

29 May 2020

On May 27, Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize admitted that SA was suffering from a backlog of tests. According to his statement, as of May 27, 634 996 tests had been conducted across the country. But of those, “a total of 29 948 tests reflects a backlog ofunallocated tests”.

The statement said this challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally (that is, inadequate supply of extraction kits and high throughputs of PCRkits). It must be acknowledged that this capacity issue is a global challenge.


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Cape Town faces ICU bed shortage

29 May 2020
On May 29 it was reported that Cape Town is running dangerously low on public hospital ICU beds, as the Western Cape has reported 65% of SA’s 27 403 coronavirus cases. According to the head of the Western Cape health department, Keith Cloete, Cape Town’s public hospitals have 135 ICU beds, but fewer than 100 are available.
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Private sector complains about frosty treatment over Covid-19

28 May 2020

Tension between private sector doctors and the government is coming to a head over a dispute about payment and legal immunity when it comes to treating COVID-19, reported Daily Maverick (28 May 2020).

“In a letter to members, the South African Private Practitioners’ Forum (SAPPF) says its repeated attempts to negotiate with the National Department of Health in “offering our support in combatingthis pandemic” have not met with a satisfactory response. At the heart of the issue isthe treatment of “state-responsibility patients” for Covid-19 in private medical facilities - and what the doctors will be paid.”


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Top award for SA doctor

28 May 2020

A South African HIV researcher, Quarraisha Abdool Karim,has been awarded the Christophe Merieux Prize, one of France’s top science prizes (close to R9.6-m), for her research.

Karim found that a topical gel of the HIV antiretroviral drug tenofovir, could stop many women being infected with HIV during sex. Abdool Karim, 60, has previously won SA’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, as well as a L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science award. Her husband,

fellow epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim, is the SA government’s main scientific advisor for COVID-19.


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Cape Town: SA’s Covid epicentre

28 May 2020

The impression that the Western Cape is experiencing a more severe epidemic than the rest of the country is skewed by the fact that it does proportionately more testing and tests more aggressively in known hotspots, according to the provincial government. (As of last week, it had conducted 1 200 tests per 100 000 people, against Gauteng’s 837 per 100 000.) – Financial Mail (28 May 2020).


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How did Cuban health workers register in just three days?

27 May 2020
On 25 May, 28 Cuban doctors, part of a group of 187 healthcare workers, started working in Gauteng to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Low-cost hospital group RH Bophelo lists in Rwanda

27 May 2020

Black-owned hospital group, RH Bophelo, will be making a secondary listing on the Rwanda Stock Exchange on 1 June. The group, which owns nine hospitals and manages six on behalf of smaller standalone hospitals, targets lower and middle-income earners who ordinarily cannot afford medical aid, but also do not want to rely on state hospitals.

 


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Fight against Covid-19 undermines war on HIV

26 May 2020

HIV experts fear an upsurge in new HIV infections after lockdown because thousands of people are defaulting on treatment.

Clinics across the country are reporting a dramatic decrease in patients collecting their medication and the diversion of staff from HIV outreach programmes to Covid-19 screening could slow down HIV-testing and treatment initiation.


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Private ambulances fall victim to pandemic

26 May 2020
The private ambulance industry has become the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Sunday Times (4 May 2020). 
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Netcare scraps its interim dividend

26 May 2020

“Private hospital group, Netcare, has followed several other companies and scrapped its interim dividend payment for the first time since listing on the JSE in 1996.” – Business Day (26 May 2020)

It has also withdrawn its full-year guidance, secured a waiver of its debt covenants and increased its undrawn banking facilities to R4.8-bn.


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SAMRC board apologises for Prof Gray's comments, bars staff from speaking to media – News24

26 May 2020
The SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) board has apologised to the Ministry of Health and the Ministerial Advisory Committee for recent comments made by its president, Professor Glenda Gray, and says it will institute a fact-finding investigation into the "damage" the comments may have caused. – News24 (25 May 2020)

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Findings from St Augustine's Covid-19 outbreak

24 May 2020
An investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak that led to the closure of Netcare St Augustine's Hospital in Durban found that, between 9 March and 30 April 2020, there were 119 confirmed cases identified at the hospital (39 patients and 80 staff). 
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Blood shortage fears as lockdown continues

24 May 2020

Health experts are concerned about the blood donation cycle, which has been disturbed by national lockdowns across the world. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) blood stock levels are at 4.9 days of supply; the platelet stock is at 0.4 days of supply, and the supply of rarer blood types at O- at only (36%) of capacity.

During the current lockdown SANBS collected 40 % less than their usual donation amount.


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