By addiction we usually mean continued involvement and dependence on drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. But addiction can also include an abnormal dependency on many other things, including pornography, gambling and food.
To the Editor: We commend the retrospective survey of antimicrobial susceptibility at 3 Military Hospital in Bloemfontein and appreciate the concern about very high rates of culture-negative urine received at the laboratory. Possibly many such samples came from patients already receiving antimicrobials. We feel that it would have been better to screen urine samples received for culture for the presence of any antimicrobials in the sample to ensure judicious therapeutic intervention.
To the Editor: The editorial on the decriminalisation of drugs, and the debate that it sparked off, refer. The potential medically beneficial effects of cannabis were alluded to in the editorial. My personal dealings with a family with a child with Friedreich's ataxia, who has skeletal deformities causing constant severe pain, have convinced me that there is a place for the medicinal use of cannabis. In this case, albeit anecdotal, the only treatment that helps is cannabis.
To the Editor: At the 2008 SAMA conference 'The Future of Health Care in South Africa - How Will It Be Provided and Funded?', I addressed the history of South Africa's health policy, in particular the views of the mass movements on health and access to health care, traced back to the Freedom Charter (1955). Their continued appeal for a state-run preventive health scheme, free medical and hospital care (with special attention to mothers and children) and better access to health care is highlighted in frameworks such as the Reconstruction and Development Plan (1994), the ANC's National Health Plan for South Africa of 1994 (developed with the World Health Organization and UNICEF), the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), the White Paper for the Transformation of the Health System of South Africa (1997) and the National Health Act (2004).
To the Editor: The enthusiastic account of the 10th anniversary of UCT's Lung Institute (Pty) Ltd in the June issue1 raises many questions. Is medicine a caring profession or a business? Is it desirable that the replication of such initiatives be encouraged? Is it possible to replicate it even if one wanted to? Is the Institute sustainable in the light of its dependence on the exceptional ability and determination of a unique individual?
To the Editor: The phenomenon of long-term relapse is familiar to many persons who have contracted malaria, and to their doctors. Attacks of Plasmodium vivax malaria (so-called benign tertian malaria) in particular can occur after symptomatic illness has been absent in the patient for months or years. Recurrent clinical P. vivax manifestations have been thought to originate from a dormant liver form, the discovery of which1 has become recognised as a classic landmark in the history of parasitology and tropical medicine. I correctly predicted the existence of the stage concerned (extrapolating from my rodent-associated research while a PhD student at Imperial College London) and coined the term 'hypnozoite' for it. For the past three decades, medical students worldwide have been taught that hypnozoites give rise to malarial relapse. However, new findings indicate that there might well be a second cause of recurrent P. vivax malaria.
To the Editor: The Western Cape province operates a fleet of 73 vehicles specifically designed and dedicated to transport non-emergency patients within the provincial health care system. Its population of close to 5 million is spread over an area of 130 000 km2, with 70% of the population located in the Cape Town metropole.
To the Editor: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child holds governments responsible for ensuring children's right to the highest attainable standard of health by providing breastfeeding support, access to nutritious food, appropriate health care and clean drinking water. If universally implemented, these would lower infant morbidity and mortality substantially. However, this guideline is directed only towards the physical needs of children and neglects their psychosocial and mental health.
To the Editor: Retief and Cilliers stated in their interesting article that 'Evidence of cancers in the Egyptian papyri is very uncertain, but the occurrence of the word weshau (eating) may on occasion be interpreted as indicative of malignancy, and breast cancer may have been recognised.'
To the Editor: In a media release dated 30 August 2011, the Professional Board for Emergency Care of the Health Professions Council of South Africa states: 'The HPCSA remains committed to the discontinuation of the Basic Ambulance Assistants (BAAs), Ambulance Emergency Assistants (AEAs) and paramedic Registers, thereby halting the current short courses offered.' The closure of the registers is pending the promulgation of the relevant regulations by the Minister of Health.
While the National Health Insurance (NHI) will require an increase in health care spending that initially outstrips even projected GDP increases, the level of spending relative to GDP in 14 years' time (6.2%) will be less than the current total health care spending of 8.5% of the GDP (Fig. 1).
If ever there was a critical time in which doctors needed to bury their present and past differences and speak as a collective it is in the remaining few weeks before the consultation deadline on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Green Paper.
Hastily re-opened nursing colleges need to churn out 51 200 professional nurses over the next decade and medical campuses double their output of GPs over the next 15 years - just to maintain the current (dismal) ratios to population (Fig. 1).
The March 2011 Anti-Substance Abuse Summit in Durban continued the outdated approach to policy around illicit drugs in South Africa. It missed opportunities for discussing how to impact significantly on the health and social harms associated with problematic drug use and reduce the burden of drug-related cases in the criminal justice system. The government needs to move away from the political rhetoric of a 'drug-free society' and start the real work of formulating and implementing an evidence-based drug policy that learns from the experiences of other countries around decriminalising drug use; takes into account differences in the harms resulting from different classes of drugs; adopts a rights-based, public health approach to policy; and identifies a single (accountable) agency that has the authority to oversee policy implementation. In addition, consensus is needed on the short-, medium- and long-term priorities for drug policy implementation. The 17 evidence-based drug policy strategies identified by Babor et al. may serve as a useful starting point for policy development.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at high risk for HIV acquisition and transmission owing to the high risks associated with unprotected anal sex and barriers to accessing appropriate health services. Globally HIV prevention is failing among MSM, as evidenced by high seroconversion rates. Prevention interventions for MSM are more limited than for heterosexual individuals. Prevention programmes should embrace early initiation of antiretroviral therapy for positive clients as part of their programming. High transmission risk groups such as MSM will benefit from such interventions.
With the ubiquitous connectivity offered by the Internet, social media sites (like Twitter and Facebook) and personal publishing platforms (blogs) are proliferating rapidly. In this new, evolving scenario of social media, these tools become an important medium to disseminate information at a lightning speed. However, the conventional medical publication model is less than eager to regard them as equivalent to traditional modes of information dissemination. In this article we examine the role played by the social media as a critic of the medical publication system, and how it acts as a safeguard by building a platform for post-publication peer review.
Town Hill Psychiatric Hospital in Pietermaritzburg was built in the late 1870s and opened in 1880. It was designed and built in the grand fashion of Victorian mental institutions; most of its buildings are now listed historical monuments as examples of Victorian colonial architecture. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was almost a self-sufficient community, with vegetable gardens, a piggery,quarry and permanent residences for many of the staff, gardeners and workmen. The first medical superintendent, Dr James Hyslop, planted the trees, many of which still remain and must be up to 100 years old. There are groves of bamboo, yellowwood, cycads, enormous azaleas and avenues lined with jacaranda and London planes in the grounds, which give it the atmosphere of an English country estate in a condition of mild decaying colonial splendour.
Martin is baie skielik na 'n kort siekbed in die Panorama Mediclinic oorlede en word oorleef deur twee broers, Steve en Louis, en 'n suster, Elsa. Ons wil graag ons meegevoel aan hulle betuig met die skielike heengaan van hul broer. Hy is begrawe op die familieplaas Remhoogte in die Clanwilliam-distrik, waar hy ook sy kinderjare deurgebring het.