Category: Articles

Testing educational tools for Public Health learning in the Health Sciences curricula in Africa

There is a need to capture the interest of medical students and to communicate the relevance of the inclusion of Public Health in the medical curriculum. There appears to be a lack of such educational tools – and evaluations of their effectiveness – in the public health arena and more so in the undergraduate environment. One possible strategy to improve the learning about PH in the undergraduate medical curriculum is to test educational tools that have been successfully used elsewhere.

Sustainability’s strange trip through ‘neoliberal nature’

For the 2015-30 period, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are now the mantra of the UN and many other multilateral agencies. This article discusses what the “worth” or nature is; the importance of thinking about future generations; the effects of relocating polluting industries to lower income countries; threats to the environment; and how we can move to really sustainable societies.

PHASA Conference 2015: Opening Ceremony

The PHASA 2015 conference opening ceremony welcome positioned the MDG’s and SDG’s, and included a panel discussion on challenges and successes in service delivery, training and public health research in KwaZulu-Natal.

To NHI or not? And if so, what, when, why and how?

It has been almost four years since the Green Paper on the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) was gazetted. With no White Paper in sight, many are questioning whether the NHI policy will be taken forward or whether there has been a change of heart. There remains considerable confusion about the nature of the proposed reforms. This ‘thought-piece’ outlines my own understanding of the proposed health system reforms.

Moving towards universal health coverage in South Africa: the role of private sector GPs

Since the release of the 2011 NHI Green Paper (1) considerable debate and analysis has occurred regarding the politics and economics of the proposed scheme. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the important role played by frontline providers tasked with implementing the reforms, and whose services the scheme will rely on in order to function on the ground. In particular, the ‘contracting in’ of private sector general practitioners (GPs) into the public health services is a key aspect of the NHI which deserves more attention.

The South African National Health Insurance: Where are we now?

South Africa took on a revolutionary new direction for its national health system with the publication of the government’s Green Paper on National Health Insurance (NHI). In essence the objective of the NHI policy is to provide improved access to cost effective and quality health services for all South Africans. One of the main priorities of the NHI policy was to strengthen the public health system within the first five years. This article reviews what has been achieved thus far.

Moving forward with health financing reforms in South Africa: some considerations

South Africa is at a critical juncture with regards to financing the health sector to improve health and to deliver quality health services to all. This paper provides a personal view of some of the key next steps the country will need to consider as it moves forward with its changes to health financing. The commentary draws on experience from other countries as well as South Africa and focuses on some of early challenges that may need to be considered.

Department of Health and traditional health practitioners collaboration in the Western Cape

The Department of Health in the Western Cape signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Western Cape Inyangi Forum recently. This represents a major milestone in relations between these two sectors in health care provision. In South Africa there is the Traditional Health Practitioners Interim Council Act of 2007 that recognized for the first time the involvement of traditional health practitioners (THPs) in health care. The signing of the MOU and the development of the Act came after many decades of a conflictual relationship between the two sectors.

SABINA: Building Collaborative Partnerships in Natural Products

SABINA (Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products) is a vibrant and diverse network of researchers focusing on Natural Products. With the understanding that natural products play a significant role in alleviating the interlinked issues of food security, health and nutrition, particularly in developing countries, SABINA proactively implements post-graduate chemistry, biochemistry and bioinformatics programmes to address these issues.

Global Health and Wellness: Integrating Public Health with Traditional and Complementary Health Practices

Health care, medicine and public health are rooted in the concept of eradicating human suffering related to illness and disease. Despite many common features, each area offers unique perspectives into specific philosophies and approaches to curing disease, restoring and ensuring health, and promoting wellness. In Africa, traditional medicine and other approaches including integrative, complementary and alternative methods intersect with public health in a number of ways. Optimal health and wellbeing depend on both having access to clinical services as well as individuals’ behaviours and attitudes.


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