Our canine carers come from The South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind (SAGA), established in 1953 by Gladys Evans, herself blind, and her dog Sheena. Visit http://www.guidedog.org.za/website_who_we_are_content/54 to meet this lovely lady (recently deceased) and learn how South Africans had to be educated about these special animals!
We write in response to the Editor's comment in CME expressing frustration with delays during the online registration process for the Two Oceans Half-Marathon. Dr Farham attributed this to completion of a medical questionnaire as part of the process. Issues raised included the length of the questionnaire, its content, accuracy of completion, clinical value of the information obtained, and the merits and validity of using the data for further research. We respond as the clinicians responsible for developing and introducing this medical screening process.
Mortality is the most extreme consequence of child abuse, but it is not always conceptualised within the framework of child abuse and neglect. While undertaking research for the recent National Female and Child Homicide Study, it became apparent that medical practitioners, and especially forensic pathologists, often deviate from their legal and ethical obligations when the cause of a death raises suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
The Breast Interest Group of Southern Africa would like to respond to a recent article in the SAMJ regarding the activities of PinkDrive in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Members of the group who were quoted in the article wish to put on record that these quotes were unauthorised and that they dissociate themselves from the content of the article.
It's Christmas; you're in a hospital isolation ward, sleep-deprived and depressed, bilious and sometimes swallowing your own vomit to keep the pills down, with a painful 3 cm hole in your lung and slowly going deaf - that's how it was for one unfortunate Somerset West doctor two years ago.
Breast health professionals are questioning the life-saving impact of the high profile non-profit breast cancer organisation PinkDrive. But PinkDrive founder Noelene Kotschan has roundly rejected the attack.
Private GPs in the Western Cape claim they've been side-lined by the provincial health authority in a major new pharmacy-chain-friendly public sector drive to increase the region's overall family planning and infant immunisation footprint.
The 103-year-old McCord Hospital in Durban, globally famous for its training and affordable high-quality healthcare, has succumbed to an external funding crisis that will almost certainly turn it into a State health facility run by the KwaZulu-Natal health department.
Professor John Cosnett (1925 - 2012) began his medical career as a student at the University of the Witwatersrand. His registrar training in medicine was at the University of Natal; he then moved to Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg as head of the medicine department, a position he held very successfully there for some 20 years, providing a high level of service and valuable guidance and training for aspiring physicians. John then decided to concentrate on his major interest - clinical neurology - and he moved to this department in Durban, where he was appointed as Associate Professor of Neurology and where he worked until his retirement in 1990.
Ed Immelman's (1938 - 2013) education and professional training were marked by success and awards. Matriculating from Rondebosch Boys High School at 16, he studied medicine at the University of Cape Town, where he was awarded scholarships and a class medal for the best student in the third and fourth years, passing his final MB ChB degree with honours and distinctions. Choosing surgery as his career, he trained at Groote Schuur Hospital, achieving his South African Surgical Fellowship examination in 1966, and the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1968.
This is the 9th edition of Daily Drug Use, published by the Western Cape Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society, the first edition having been published in 1981. I have been in general practice for many years, and am embarrassed to admit to not having used this book in the past.
Defensive (and aggressive) medicine has led to the USA leading the world in the cost per capita of its medical care. In many aspects it leads the world in quality of care. Hadler, however, takes us through convincing evidence of the harms of overtreatment to individuals and society, and cost is by no means the only factor.
This book should be viewed in the context of its aims, i.e. as a reference for paramedical health workers in isolated rural areas with limited access to senior advice and even simple investigations. However, it would also be a valuable reference for doctors, particularly those who trained in high-resource settings or who are working outside their area of expertise. This edition is a major re-write by Dr Schull and his wife, who have generously agreed to forego royalties from sales. The book is available through Teaching Aids at Low Cost (TALC), thanks to a grant from the Australian Medical Association of Queensland Foundation.
The District Clinical Specialist Team (DCST) is a strategy implemented by the South African National Department of Health to strengthen district health systems. An amount of R396 million per annum will be required to fund posts in all 52 districts. During implementation, numerous risks were identified, the major one being the most expensive category of DCST personnel, i.e. Head of Clinical Unit. Similar risks will probably apply to other categories of personnel within the DCST. To achieve the objectives of the DCST strategy, risk reduction strategies need to be promptly applied.
South Africa has a 'quadruple burden of disease'. One way to reduce this burden, and address the social determinants of health and social inequity, could be through health promotion interventions driven by an independent Health Promotion and Development Foundation (HPDF). This could provide a framework to integrate health promotion and social development into all government and civil society programmes. On priority issues, the HPDF would mobilise resources, allocate funding, develop capacity, and monitor and evaluate health promotion and development work. Emphasis would be on reducing the effects of poverty, inequity and unequal development on disease rates and wellbeing. The HPDF could also decrease the burden on the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) system. We reflect on such foundations in other countries, and propose a structure for South Africa's HPDF and a dedicated funding stream to support its activities. In particular, an additional 2% levy on alcohol and tobacco products is proposed to be utilised to fund the HPDF.
South Africa recently became the first African country where clinical pharmacology has been approved as a specialty. This article outlines the need for clinical pharmacologists, their role in advancing public health, the potential benefits to the country, and recommendations for ensuring a healthy future for the discipline.
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela is a 1 200-year-old pilgrimage mainly through Spain, culminating at the burial place of the remains of James the Apostle, Sant Iago. It is also a World Heritage site, because the earliest human remains in Europe were discovered directly on the camino (way or walk). One is therefore privileged, subsidised and very safe to be a peregrino (pilgrim), as I was in September - October 2012. However, there are medical implications and hazards.
The proposal for national health insurance (NHI) is part of a welcome resurgence in public discourse about poverty, health and access to health services in South Africa. Despite certain areas of progress in the country since 1994, disparities in wealth and health are among the widest in the world. In 2008, for example, 54% of South Africans had an income below $3/day. The top 10% of South Africans account for 58% of annual national personal income, while the balance of 70% received a mere 16.9%. The Gini co-efficient, a measure of income inequality, increased from 0.6 in 1995 to 0.679 in 2009.