Category: Articles

HIV Vaccine development: Challenges and Progress

As we enter the fourth decade of the HIV epidemic, UNAIDS vision calls for zero discrimination, zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS related deaths through universal access to effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Access to antiretroviral therapy provides the potential to curb AIDS related deaths, but there is still a very long way to go. Until fairly recently, most HIV prevention strategies focused on socio-behavioural interventions with condoms, ‘faithful’ relationships and abstinence together being hailed as the main prevention messages. Current strategies include the use of vaginal microbicides and male medical circumcision. Although a lot of progress has been made in the prevention research arena, it is irrefutable that the development of a safe and effective vaccine becomes the best hope for ultimately ending the HIV pandemic. However, the field of HIV vaccine development research is fraught with many extraordinary challenges.

Opinion: Cervical cancer – a vaccine preventable disease

Cervical cancer will develop in one out of every 35 South African women and it is the leading cause of cancer deaths amongst South African women. Approximately nine South African women die every day from cervical cancer. The aim of this opinion piece is to highlight the fact that the cervical screening does not seems to work in South Africa (low coverage) and therefore vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is causing cervical cancer, should not be postponed anymore, in order to save lives.

Tackling climate change: Putting health at the heart of the action

The health impacts of climate change are well documented. The same is true of the impacts on basic human rights – food, water, shelter, safety, freedom and justice. It is nearly always the most disadvantaged people who are most vulnerable to climate-induced threats. If carbon reduction can be managed in an equitable way across the globe, with fair support for emerging economies, sustainable progress can be made whilst helping poorer countries achieve their Millennium Goals. This article discusses the role of the health sector in carbon reduction and the role of health professionals as advocates for greener healthcare and lifestyles.

Social Media: revolutionizing public health and climate change

Public Health and climate change in sub Saharan Africa are at a crossroads; one cannot progress without the other but we continue to be blinded by this fact at our peril. Today, there is no other solution other than tackling the growing urgency ¬– of the public health climate change manifold crisis ¬– by looking at more innovative solutions to enhance social discourse. Everyone can and should take part in changing their future today. Facebook, Twitter and all the other Web 2.0 social media are a growing medium for many concerned citizens who feel enraged and empowered enough to take action against poor leadership.

Healthy People – Health Environments

The environment plays a major role in disease prevention. Climate is a key determinant of health as it constrains the range of infectious diseases, while weather affects the timing and intensity of outbreaks. Impacts of climate change on health include both direct and indirect effects. Examples are presented in this article.

Tobacco control in Sub-Saharan Africa: Moving from Knowledge Discovery (research) to Policy Delivery (practice)

Although smoking rates in the African region are considered to be relatively low compared
to the more developed countries, these already translate into significant economic and health burden. Several studies have provided evidence for effectiveness of public policy interventions in reducing tobacco use. However, many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have not implemented these key provisions. The question is – what is it that prevents us from moving from scientific evidence i.e. knowledge discovery to policy delivery?

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