Archived Articles


Job Advert Head Research BHF

BHF is in the process of setting up an in-house specialised research unit, in support of its member constituents in pursuit of an effectively functioning Healthcare Sector. The aim of the unit will be to commission and publish cutting edge research that will produce meaningful knowledge outcomes in support of an effective and sustainable Sector. To this end, the BHF is looking to employ a highly qualified and experienced Head: Research reporting into the MD.
 
NATURE OF EMPLOYMENT
Permanent post
 
MAIN PURPOSE OF JOB
The key purpose of this role is to set up the Research unit, managing the development and implementation of the research programme.
 



Medicinal cannabis guidelines being put together

PARLIAMENT has heard that the Medicines Control Council (MCC) is simplifying the legal framework for medicinal cannabis to make it easier for patients to use these products. It has already re-classified medicinal cannabis from a tightly-restricted schedule 7 product to a permitted schedule 6 or schedule 4 product, depending on its composition, and next week is expected to approve the final guidelines governing the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes.



Underfunded and understaffed

In South Africa private and public health systems exist side by side. The public system serves the vast majority of the population, but is underfunded and understaffed. The wealthiest of the population use the private system and are better served than the poor.



Plan to tackle heart attacks strokes to save 100million lives

Global control of blood pressure, salt reduction and artificial trans fats elimination could save 100 million lives.



Childrens hospital a mammoth boost not a white elephant

The R500m was an estimate based on the cost of running a 200-bed children’s hospital at full throttle.



New patents policy the wrong cure for improving access to medicines

Collaboration and innovation rather than property expropriation will drive down the price of live-saving drugs.



Diabetes test may result in incorrect reading

PEOPLE of African descent may mistakenly get the all-clear from a widely used type 2 diabetes test - called HbA1c - according to an international study published in PLOS Medicine. Scientists found 42 new genetic variants that influence a person’s HbA1c measurements, including one that could lead to Africans and African-Americans being underdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes.



Gates fears foreign cuts may hit Africas AIDS fight

BILL Gates has warned ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York that potential cuts to foreign aid threaten the world’s chances of ending poverty and eradicating diseases by 2030, with particularly dire consequences for Africa’s HIV and AIDS efforts. A 10 percent cut in funding for HIV and AIDS could lead to the death of 5.6-million people by 2030, said the Microsoft founder ahead of the release of a report from his philanthropic foundation on how the world is progressing towards 18 of the health and poverty-related targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



Ascendis has Europe acquisitions in sights

ASCENDIS Health is eyeing bolt-on acquisitions in Central and Eastern Europe in 2018 to boost its business. In SA, the group said, it would target the fast-growing health and care industry, which still offered opportunities for growth. The healthcare group bought a number of companies in countries such as Cyprus that lifted its revenue for the year to June.



Adcock Ingram to buy Genop Healthcare

Adcock Ingram has concluded an agreement to buy South African specialist marketing and distribution company Genop Healthcare. Genop’s historical revenue was R400m a year, Adcock said in its voluntary Sens announcement. It did not say how much it had agreed to pay, as the deal is not a categorised transaction under JSE listing rules.



Makhura urges foreigners to settle hospital bills

THOUSANDS of patients from foreign countries with unpaid health bills owed to Gauteng hospitals may be in for a surprise, as Premier David Makhura plans to confront their embassies to recover the outstanding debts. Makhura said the drive to force foreign countries to settle health bills on behalf of their citizens would assist in staving off the financial burden faced by hospitals and clinics in the province.



Q and A with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi

In a National Health Insurance policy document released in July, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he wants to end medical aid tax credits. Chris Barron asked him.



In and out plan might work

THE management team at Advanced Health could be forgiven for getting out a Quaich bowl or two of something strong and peaty to calm the nerves after its latest results. The company is putting decent-sized bets on the table as it seeks to establish itself as a leading day hospital group in SA and Australia, and this has resulted in a chunky loss of about R60-million in the year to June.



What to look out for when changing medical schemes and benefit options

We all get to the point where we review our health care plans and costs and wonder whether the grass is greener on another side, or whether we could be getting more bang for our buck. But before you dive into making any changes to your essential medical aid cover, there are a number of important factors and implications that you need to thoroughly evaluate beforehand. The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has a big picture, independent knowledge of all the medical aid schemes on the market and recommends that you ask yourself these important questions:



Measles outbreak declared in KwaZuluNatal Province NICD will test for measles free of charge

An outbreak of measles has been declared in KwaZulu-Natal Province. An increase in number of laboratory-confirmed measles cases was observed in Ethekwini and Umgungundlovu districts from July 2017. As of 5 September 2017, a total of 23 laboratory-confirmed measles cases has been reported in four of the 11 districts in KwaZulu-Natal: Ethekwini (n=14), Umgungundlovu (n=6), ILembe (n=2) and Uthukela (n=1). Many of the cases are among persons aged more than five years, outside the age groups that were targeted by the national measles vaccination campaign conducted recently in 2017. Furthermore, the majority of the cases are from the private sector and within communities that are hesitant to accept vaccination for religious reasons.



The promise and peril of do it yourself HIV testing

One in two people living with HIV still aren’t on treatment, could DIY testing be the solution?



Cosatu opposition to private healthcare will scupper NHI

Cosatu’s opposition to the private sector having a role in the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) could fundamentally scupper the achievement of universal healthcare coverage in SA. says the Board of Healthcare Funders.



Treasury opts to defer sugar tax implementation

Implementation of the health promotion levy - previously known as the sugar-sweetened beverages tax - will be delayed until April 2018, Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat said.



Private sector skills and resources of enormous benefit to implementation of NHI

The achievement of universal healthcare coverage in South Africa could be thwarted by Cosatu's opposition to the National Department of Health's plan to allow the private sector to have a role in the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI).



Innovations in oncology explode as new treatments gain approval

Last week was historic in the fight against cancer. Novartis got approval for the first treatment in a revolutionary new class of drugs, shortly after Gilead Sciences spent $11.9bn on a biotech company working in the field.



Change at Novartis as CEO departs

NOVARTIS has announced the surprise departure of CEO Joseph Jimenez after eight years at the helm of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical company, handing over the challenge of selling underperforming assets and developing new medicines to a Harvard-trained doctor.



Overservicing unregulated PMB tariffs driving up costs

Knock-on costs are among the biggest drivers of expenses in the healthcare-funding sector, and the more services a healthcare professional performs, the higher the bill, says Patrick Masobe, the chief executive of medical scheme administrator and clinical risk manager Agility Health.



Private sector skills and resources cannot be lost to South Africas national healthcare project

Cosatu’s opposition to the plans of the National Department of Health to allow the private sector to have a role in the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) could fundamentally scupper the achievement of universal healthcare coverage in South Africa.



NHI Needs Medical Schemes to Survive

The Principal Officer of Bonitas explains why it’s imperative for measures to be put in place that will allow medical schemes to work in tandem with NHI.



Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza update

The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N8) in poultry is ongoing after its emergence in South Africa in June 2017. According to the OIE website, 24 localized outbreaks have been identified to date from three provinces (Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Western Cape) as follows: 10 outbreaks in commercial chickens, 3 outbreaks in commercial ostrich, 5 outbreaks in wild birds, 3 outbreaks in birds that were kept as a hobby and 3 outbreaks in backyard poultry. The OIE reports may be found at http://www.oie.int.



BHF launches certification for medical scheme trustees

The BHF has launched a nationally recognised Trustee Development Training certification to support the medical schemes industry.



Medical aid scheme trustees oncourse

BHF launches certification for medical scheme trustees.



Roche cuts the price of breast cancer drug

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche had already lowered the price of its breast cancer drug trastuzumab to state patients and it was now provided at a limited number of hospitals, it said on Monday.



A doctor in your pocket

If there is a golden rule for everyday Internet use, "Don’t google your symptoms" is a pretty good candidate. Well, that and "Don’t read the comments section".Despite the huge store of health information online, googling your scratchy throat can be a risky route to erroneously self-diagnosing cancer of the larynx. Yet, clearly not every ailment requires a doctor’s visit.



Noncommunicable diseases a threat to the health system

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) threaten to overwhelm a health system already under strain from HIV and tuberculosis. Illnesses like cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure need stronger prevention and community-based programmes, including those involving community healthcare workers (CHWs), to “avert the growing burden of NCDs”.



Deaths rates declined due to HIV success

Death rates have declined, largely due to successes in HIV, but a lot more needs to be done to defeat its “terrible twin”, tuberculosis (TB).



Novartis starts testing new malaria drug as resistant strain spreads

Novartis began testing a new anti-malaria pill in Africa, advancing development of an alternative to its most effective treatment, which billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said risks losing potency.



Aspen hurt by ill winds lashing sector

AFRICA’S largest generic drug maker, Aspen Pharmacare, is trading at levels last seen in 2013 as negative sentiment towards healthcare companies persists. Regulatory bodies, meanwhile, are keeping a close watch on the sector. On Monday, the share was trading at R274.25, compared with R236.92 on August 22 2013.



BHF announces new Managing Director

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has announced that Dr Katlego Mothudi will take on the role of Managing Director from 1 September 2017.



What is hurting Advanced Healths growth plans

The company, like the hospital industry, has been under pressure for some time. Day hospital group Advanced Health’s share price has come under pressure because its growth strategy is taking longer to bear fruit than expected.On Friday, the share price was down 1.85% at R1.06, closing in negative territory for the third week running.



Cancer leads big four in claim payouts

Disease's prevalence underlines why life assurance, medical cover are essential.Cancer is the leading cause of most claims paid by Old Mutual, the latest claims statistics released by the life assurer earlier this month show.



The most important healthcare company on the planet

How the digital revolution is changing medicine. When thinking of giants in the world’s healthcare sector, names like Johnson & Johnson, UnitedHealth or Pfizer may come to mind. However, speaking at the Growth, Innovation and Leadership summit in Cape Town last week, Frost & Sullivan partner Dorman Followwill said that none of these traditional names is the most important healthcare company in the world today.



South Africans urged to be organ donors

SURVEYS conducted by the Organ Donor Foundation this year show 71 percent of people are not willing to be donors, yet 77 percent would accept a donor organ. Countrywide about 4 300 adults and children in dire need of an organ are on a waiting list, yet only 361 transplants could happen last year. August is organ donor month and the foundation is urging people to register as donors.



Draft patent policy a vital step for increasing access to medicines

Intellectual property law would encourage competition and innovation by exploiting global flexibility provisions. The announcement that the Cabinet has approved the Draft Intellectual Property Policy of the Republic of SA: Phase I — to give the formal title — was made in a few terse lines embedded within the official account of its meeting on August 1. On the heels of this announcement, the detailed draft policy was released by the Department of Trade and Industry a week later.



Drug trade body is in support of patents renewal

The draft policy’s proposals would combat any spurious attempts to prolong drug company monopolies. The Department of Trade and Industry’s draft intellectual-property policy places too much emphasis on drug firms’ "ever-greening" patents on medicines, fuelling misconceptions about the practice, according to the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of SA (Ipasa).



Activists applaud policy to make lifesaving drugs affordable

Without the reforms, many medicines for cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis and mental health will remain unaffordable or unavailable in SA, says coalition.



Why does HIV kill more men than women

In 2016, 60% of women of 15 years or older living with HIV were on treatment. Less than half their male peers could say the same. Men are far more likely to die from an HIV-related illness than women, although women are becoming infected with HIV at a much faster rate.



Diabetes info app launched

The Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE) has launched its club app to provide people who have diabetes with valuable information on managing the condition and tools to track their progress.



NHI A partnership for quality health for all

Speaking to Independent Newspaper’s Kathu Mamaila, Precious Matsoso, directorgeneral
in the Department of Health, explodes the myth that the NHI will eliminate the
private healthcare system.



15th Edition of Mediscor Medicines Review released

MEDISCOR Pharmacy Benefit Management has launched the 15th edition of the Mediscor Medicines Review. Data gained from claims submitted by pharmacies, doctors and scheme members in 2015 and 2016 has been collated, compared and analysed. The data set included only fee-for-service medical schemes for which services were rendered for the entire period under review, representing approximately one million beneficiaries.



Medical schemes affected by dip in formal job sector

The group’s share price has plunged 22.45% in the past six months as fewer employed workers contribute to medical schemes. The poor performance of medical schemes has put pressure on payments made to providers such as Life Healthcare.



Health departments change to means test will aid poor patients

The development corrects the unintended consequence of the government’s failure to adjust the means test for 15 years. The Department of Health has adjusted the means test used to determine who is eligible for free or discounted fees at public hospitals, a move that could bring millions more people into the social security net.



Mediclinic enters primary healthcare market

Mediclinic Southern Africa has expanded its base into the primary healthcare market by buying into the Intercare group of companies. The latter operates 18 multidisciplinary medical and dental centres, four day hospitals and three sub-acute and rehabilitation hospitals in South Africa.



Clarification of process towards consolidation of healthcare risk pools

HAS come to the attention of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) that there appears to be a narrative in the industry that is attributed to the CMS to the effect that the regulator is going to close medical schemes that have less than 6 000 principal members in terms of Regulation 2(3) read in conjunction with section 24 (2) of the Medical Schemes Act, 131 of 1998.



Accused managers quit lab service

The National Health Laboratory Service’s (NHLS’s) head of procurement and its facility manager have resigned, but the state lab service is taking legal action against them following allegations of corruption and fraud.



Commed members to move to Bonitas

AFTER the Community Medical Aid Scheme (Commed) was placed under provisional curatorship by order of court in June, it has now been decided that all Commed members will be transferred to Bonitas Medical Fund. The Community Medical Aid Scheme (Commed) was placed under provisional curatorship by order of court on 2 June 2017.



Renewed support for sugar tax survey shows

Support for the government’s plan to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks has grown "significantly" since last year‚ a new survey has found.



BOARD OF HEALTHCARE FUNDERS HONOURS INDUSTRY LEADERS AT THE 3RD TITANIUM AWARDS

South Africa – At the recent 3rd Annual Titanium Awards, the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) of Southern Africa honoured public and private healthcare sector organisations in the SADC region.

Launched in 2014, the Awards are an important event in recognising and celebrating excellence in the healthcare sector.



Laboratory strike enters fourth day with new wage offer on the table

The strike at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) entered its fourth day on Monday as unions presented a revised wage offer to their members. The strike — which began on Wednesday — has crippled the service‚ which provides laboratory and related public health services to over 80% of the population through a national network of laboratories.



SAs improving perinatal death stats a testament to HIV treatment says Pali Lehohla

SA’s perinatal mortality rate fell to its lowest level in more than a decade in 2015 as more women gained access to HIV treatment, statistician-general Pali Lehohla says.



Collaboration needed to combat medical aid fraud

Fraud, waste, abuse, and irregular payments within the healthcare sector are slowly crippling the industry, said the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF). At the recent BHF conference in Cape Town, delegates agreed that there is a deep need for increased collaboration between stakeholders throughout the healthcare industry and related investigative services to effectively tackle fraud and waste.



Minister urges provinces to pay lab debs

HEALTH Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi wants a law to be enacted to provide for a mechanism that will ensure the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) do not depend on provincial departments for funding.  “We believe it is important that NHLS is directly funded from the fiscus as opposed to provinces as there is no law to force them (provincial departments) to pay up,” Motsoaledi said yesterday.



GlaxoSmithKline to go for smart tech

Major drug makers are grappling with the effects of technology as digital apps offer patients new ways to monitor their health. GlaxoSmithKline has appointed former Wal-Mart Stores executive Karenann Terrell to the new senior position of chief digital and technology officer as the drug maker begins to move to smart tech systems.



Patientrelated information must be respected

Any patient-related information within the doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct, and must be respected, even after death. The South African Medical Association (Sama) said this following the release, and subsequent withdrawal, of a book detailing the last days of former president Nelson Mandela.The book was written by former SANDF Surgeon-General Dr Vejay Ramlakan, who was part of the medical team treating Mandela in the months before his death.



Drug resistance a major setback to HIV fight

More and more countries are reaching the “threshold” of resistance to the most commonly-used HIV drugs which could “undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV”, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). HIV drug resistance occurs when individuals do not take their medicines as prescribed. This gives the virus a chance to mutate to the point where the medication no longer works to suppress it - allowing it to multiply and make a person open to infections that can make them sick.



US plan to cut global AIDS funding has SA on edge

The US is the biggest international donor to SA’s HIV/AIDS efforts, but Trump's proposed budget puts this funding at risk.The Department of Health is anxiously waiting to see if the US Congress approves President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to global health programmes, as its decision could reduce donor support for HIV/AIDS in SA.



Mental illnesses costing SA billions

Mental health spend has increased by more than 80% in the past five years, reaching R2bn in 2016 with hospitalisation claims amounting to R32m more than predicted, according to Discovery Health CEO Dr Jonathan Broomberg. "Mental health spend increased by 87% over the past five years (from 2011 to 2016)," said Broomberg.



Cooperative bank for healthcare sector launched

The health economy received a boost with the launch of MediCoop CFI, a cooperative bank which is exclusive to the healthcare sector. MediCoop CFI offers healthcare professionals access to capital and investment. Although the concept of a cooperative bank has been tried and tested globally, it is new to the health sector in South Africa. 



Mediclinic CE Danie Meintjes to retire

The CE has been at the helm of the private hospital group since 2010 and oversaw the acquisition of Middle East hospital group Al Noor in 2015. Mediclinic International announced on Tuesday that CE Danie Meintjes would retire. Meintjes has been at the helm of the private hospital group since 2010, but his history with the company stretches back to 1985, when he first started as a hospital manager at Mediclinic Sandton.



Rising cost of healthcare fuels selfmedication

During the flu and allergy seasons, consumers turn to self-medication to build up their immune systems, preferring anti-flu tablets, cough medicines and antihistamines to avoid expensive doctor's visits.The rising cost of healthcare means that many South Africans have far less money to spend on treatments for illness. Consumers are thus increasingly opting for self-medication, a trend encouraged by widening access to the internet. A growing number of people are researching their health concerns and potential remedies online, even before seeking the advice of pharmacists. This trend is increasing consumers' confidence in their ability to self-medicate.



Medical aids may know their fate by 2020 under the National Health Insurance

Government and medical aids may be uncomfortable but necessary bedfellows. Medical aids may know their fate under the National Health Insurance (NHI) by 2020, says Paresh Prema, the head of benefits management for the Council for Medical Schemes. In the meantime, the government will seek to capitalise on private sector expertise, which currently serves about nine million South Africans, to help build the NHI, says Precious Matsoso, director general of the health department.



SA urged to tackle NHI as one

Countries that have established national healthcare systems have advised government to consider partnering with the private sector to ensure the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan is successful here. Representatives from these countries say that the only way to silence resistance while ensuring that every citizen has access to quality healthcare is to forge a healthy joint venture with the private sector.



Less choice but also smaller bills as NHI powers up

SPEAKERS at a Board of Healthcare Funders’ conference said members will find their medical schemes radically transformed over the next few years as benefits and benefit options are aligned with the National Health Insurance policy. Vishal Brijlal, a technical adviser on NHI in the Department of Health, told delegates the Council for Medical Schemes will start consulting on the introduction of mandatory membership of medical schemes for those who can afford it, as an interim measure on the path to NHI. Mandatory membership could bring about significant reductions in contributions as schemes will no longer face the cost of anti-selection - admitting members who join schemes only when they are ill and in need of treatment. Committees are being established to rapidly revise the current package of prescribed minimum benefits that all schemes are obliged to provide to align it with the NHI benefit package, which has yet to be detailed.



Gems worried about fraud and antiselection

The Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) now provides healthcare cover for almost 57% of eligible public service employees, Gems said in its annual report for 2016, released this week.Gems says it faced numerous challenges last year, including a sharp increase in claims, fraud and anti-selection.



Health department unveils edrug platform

The government and the private sector have moved to establish an electronic prescribing platform that will make e-prescriptions easier for doctors. Gavin Steel, chief director at the Department of Health, said prescribing drugs electronically would revolutionise access in private and public health.



NHI bill to come before Cabinet in November

The National Department of Health hopes to have the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill before Cabinet in November this year after which it will be made available for public comment.



Universal healthcare coverage costs under scrutiny

Cost and implementation remain major hurdles to the implementation of National Health Insurance, conference hears. Access to universal healthcare coverage is crucial for economic development, but the biggest challenges to realising it are cost and implementation. The Department of Health has published a white paper on National Health Insurance (NHI), setting SA on course to provide universal coverage. However, the white paper has raised debate about the efficacy of the department’s proposals.



Apartheid built healthcare inequalities NHI must dismantle them

LIKE birth, revolution is characterised by blood and pain. In a revolution or any radical change, there are two contesting forces - one fighting for change and the other for the status quo. It is understandable that the beneficiaries of the current order will fight tooth and nail to stop the revolution - and National Health Insurance is a revolution in the provision of health. The battle over the implementation of universal health coverage, a plan endorsed by the World Health Organisation, is not happening only in our country.

In the US, for instance, Obamacare, the US version of universal health coverage, is under attack by the new administration of President Donald Trump. We have our own Trumps in South Africa - those who are beneficiaries of a system that benefits the minority and excludes the majority oppose the NHI on ideological grounds. They do not want equity with regard to healthcare provision. They argue that the state should leave private healthcare alone and rather sort out the mess in public health facilities. They argue that the poor management and incompetence that characterise the public healthcare sector should not be exported into a private sector that works well.



National Health Insurance NHI white paper is approved

The Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi and his Deputy Dr. Joe Phaahla on Thursday, 29 June 2017 released details of the National Health Insurance (NHI) white paper as approved by Cabinet. The National Health Insurance is a health financing system that pools funds to provide access to quality health care services to all South Africans, based on their health needs and irrespective of their socio-economic status. The NHI represents a substantial policy shift that will necessitate a massive re-organization of the current health system, both private and public. Cabinet has approved the White Paper on the National Health Insurance, to be gazetted as a policy document.



Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi letter to the Health Ombusman Prof Malegapuru Makgoba

The Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi will today, 29 June 2017 write a letter to the Health Ombudsman Prof. Malegapuru Makgoba asking his office to institute an investigation into allegations that drivers, cleaners and other unqualified persons are performing post-mortems in the public health facilities in South Africa.



Universal healthcare tops this years Annual Board of Health Funders Southern Africa conference

The Board of Health Funders (BHF) of Southern Africa will convene in Cape Town, South Africa, for their annual conference next month from 16 to 19 July.



Smoking down due to government restrictions

Smoking rates in South Africa have declined following the years-long ban on cigarette advertising‚ high taxes on cigarettes and the banning of smoking indoors in public places.



Former minister heads up new health care cooperative

MediCoop CFI, the financial cooperative that provides banking services exclusively to members in the health care sector, has appointment Theuns Botha as its managing director.



Africa must reboot its health systems to cope with noncommunicable diseases

When it comes to killer diseases in Africa many people think of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, or even Ebola. But the reality is that diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease – known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – are a major threat.



Regulators are the reason big pharma can charge what it likes

Pharmaceutical companies, such as Aspen, are buying built-in marketing rights, not just drugs, when they purchase other companies.



SA signs innovation agreement with Novartis

A high-level memorandum of understanding (MoU) for medical research and development has been signed between the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the department of science and technology (DST) and Swiss drug firm, Novartis.



DISCHEM Off to a healthy start

The pharmacy franchise has done very well in its first year of listing and is on an aggressive store roll-out.



Medici medical app launches in South Africa

A medical app, Medici, that is said to be revolutionising the doctor-patient relationship, is now available in South Africa. The next-generation secure messaging app enables users to communicate virtually with medical providers via text, call, or video.



Getting global fees right

There is some controversy about alternative reimbursement models in the commercial healthcare industry. Global fees contracts - where a single payment is made to a healthcare team to cover all costs including hospitals, either monthly, or for a defined episode of care such as hip surgery - have attracted most of the attention.



Slow going for CompComs health market inquiry

South Africa’s private healthcare industry is patiently awaiting news or findings from the Competition Commission’s (CompCom) health market inquiry (HMI).



NDoH in Talks with Healthcare Funders on NHI

“We have the infrastructure to look after 8.5 million people and could expand it to look after anyone who can afford to pay for NHI,” said Anderson. “The rest of the patients would be subsidised or whatever the department decides.”



Costly UK rentals hit Netcare subsidiary

CEO Richard Friedland says PropCo at the last minute changed some of the conditions the company thought were settled.



Supersized South Africa

Fat adults and stunted toddlers – the impact of South Africans’ poor diet is reverberating around the country.



Aspen Faces EU Antitrust Probe Over Pricing of Cancer Drugs

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. faces a European Union antitrust probe for ramping up the price of cancer drugs as the EU joins a global crackdown on the soaring cost of life-saving generic medicines.



District hospitals performing well

DESPITE ongoing complaints about treatment in government hospitals, a recent study on service delivery showed all provincial district hospitals in the Western Cape were compliant and were performing well against most standards. The report, which was released by the Public Service Commissioner (PSC), was based on a monitoring and evaluation study conducted at all 33 district hospitals in the province. The overall score was above 79 percent. The study, which was finalised last month, showed that the majority of hospital staffers at provisional district hospitals were courteous and respectful. The budget management for the 2015/16 year showed the majority of hospitals either overspent or underspent beyond a two percent threshold set by the department and the Treasury. The overall result for this principle was an average of 62.06 percent - meaning that hospitals were partially compliant.



Why the NHI may take softer approach

Cabinet subcommittee to vote on revised health insurance plan, which Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says will initially let private plans continue.



NHI to go ahead against any obstacle

NATIONAL Health Insurance (NHI), aimed at introducing affordable healthcare for all South Africans, will be implemented whether there is opposition to it or not. These were the stern words of Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, and Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology. Both Ministers are part of the ANC national executive committee sub-committee on health, education, and science and technology. Motsoaledi said the government had a constitutional responsibility to provide affordable healthcare to all citizens, irrespective of their economic status. He said the World Health Organisation recommended that countries spend five percent of their gross domestic product on healthcare, but that South Africa spends more than the recommended amount, and in a disproportionate manner.



Whats behind Life Healthcares troubles in the UK

Group’s interim earnings plummet on Alliance Medical acquisition.



China supports AUs plans to set up centres to control and detect disease in Africa

THE Chinese government has thrown its weight behind the AU’s plans to set up African Centres for Disease Control in the hope that early detection and treatment of diseases, such as the Ebola virus, will stymie the devastation of such outbreaks. At a press briefing titled China Africa Health Co-operation, in Beijing last week, China’s Health Ministry spelt out its commitment to improving healthcare on the African continent. Feng Yong, deputy director-general of the department of international co-operation at China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, said health experts met members of the AU in Ethiopia to finalise building African Centres for Disease Control. The centre’s headquarters would be in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and would take three years to build. A further five regional centres would be built in Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Egypt and Gabon.



Healthcare fraud is not a victimless crime

Imagine finding out that your pharmacist or doctor has been arrested for submitting an account for care that was not administered, or for over-billing for supplies and services. Imagine finding out that he or she falsified patient data to obtain a higher payments from medical schemes, or had been paid kickbacks to refer patients to a specific specialist or clinic.



SAs healthcare ranked 119 out of 195 countries

SA was ranked 119 out of 195 countries in the Healthcare Access and Quality Index published by medical journal Lancet on Friday.



July conference to look at pharmacists role in NHI

Pharmacists are gearing up to play a key role under National Heath Insurance (NHI) when SA enters the second phase of implementing the universal health coverage policy.



African leaders discuss healthcare innovation

Representatives from over 20 African countries met for the Innovation Effect conference at the Durban International Convention Centre where they discussed health innovations and research in Africa, as well as how to address major health issues facing the continent.



Debt cripples health services warns Gauteng MEC

The budget of the province’s health department grew from R37.6bn in 2016 to R40.2bn in 2017.



National Strategic Plan for HIV TB STIs

THE long-awaited National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, TB and STIs has finally been unveiled by the South African National Aids Council (SANAC), a body responsible for building consensus across government, civil society and all other stakeholders to drive an enhanced country response to HIV, TB and STIs. The NSP 2017 - 2022 serves as a roadmap for the next stage of a journey towards a future where these three diseases are no longer public health problems. The five-year plan sets out the destinations – or goals - of a shared journey and establishes landmarks in the form of specific measurable objectives. The purpose of the NSP is to enable the many thousands of organisations and individuals who drive the response to HIV, TB and STIs to act as a concerted force, moving in the same direction.



HIV patients aged 20 will see their 70s

A LANDMARK report reveals that patients diagnosed with HIV today can expect to live well into their mid-seventies. The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, highlights the progress made in treatment of the virus in the last three decades. As recently as the 1980s an HIV diagnosis was considered a death sentence because the virus invariably triggered the disease AIDS. However, effective antiretroviral drugs mean patients today often live as long as a healthy person. The study, led by experts at Bristol University, was greeted as marking “a tremendous medical achievement”.



Healthcare funders happy to talk

Director-general Precious Matsoso pleads with medical schemes and stakeholders to come up with innovative and inclusive ideas.



Netcare earnings likely to increase

Healthcare group  Netcare, with South African and UK operations,  released a trading update in which it informed its shareholders that it expects a rise in earning for the six months to end March.



Healthcare is becoming big business in Africa albeit slowly

THE Yaya Chemist in a smartish downtown Nairobi shopping centre is more than a place to pick up prescriptions or buy cough syrup, shampoo and mosquito spray. In one corner is a tiny consultation room, where customers can have simple tests performed and receive medical advice. It costs roughly 50c to have blood pressure checked, $2 for blood-sugar levels and $10 for cholesterol levels. In similar pharmacies across Africa, patients can access services from "nutritional consultations" to HIV and malaria tests.



Opportunity beckons in life sciences arena

South Africa should consider creating a special economic zone for health-care companies to improve its current $3.2-billion (R43.7bn) market share of the continent’s life sciences products industry. This is according to professional services firm Deloitte.



The right medicine to lift intra Africa trade

Adcock said a R470m state incentive had enabled it to expand its Germiston manufacturing facility’s capacity.



Sanofi pegs US drug price rises to below healthcare inflation

French drugmaker Sanofi has pledged to peg U.S. drug price rises to below healthcare inflation in a move that limits increases for any product this year to 5.4 percent, unless there are exceptional circumstances.



Dieticians for diabetics an essential investment

New guidelines for treatment and prevention make the case for prioritising dieticians but there is little buy-in from government.



Women leading HIV prevention fight

In the small maternity ward of a run-down health clinic in Delft, a half-hour drive from Cape Town, the wooden benches in the waiting area are filled with young women and girls from the poor surrounding townships.



Codeine addiction is on the rise

Codeine addiction is on the rise‚ but SA lacks people who are specifically trained to treat it.



Generic meds could save SA millions

The word ‘generic’ may seem less appealing than the phrase “original brand”. However, if you’re ill, choosing generic medication over the original will save you money.



Fitter Aspen will still lick reputation wounds

THE Aspen share price is slowly digging itself out of the hole into which it fell after the price-gouging allegations hit the international headlines just more than a week ago. Given that ethical issues seem to matter to investors only when controversy sticks and that news about the out-of-patent cancer drug controversy has died down (for now), it’s likely the share price will recover much of its losses.



SA drug producers urge patients to demand generics

Generic medicines use could save on costs, says industry association.



World Health Organisation report dismissed because it failed to provide the underlying data

The Competition Commission’s health-market inquiry would not accept a controversial report on private hospital prices commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because it failed to provide the underlying data, it announced on Thursday.



2017 Global Medical Trend Rates

Aon Hewitt is pleased to present the results of its 2017 survey of average medical trend rates from countries around the world. The survey was conducted among Aon Hewitt offices that broker, administer, or otherwise advise on medical plans that are established and managed by employers in each of the 91 countries covered in this report. The survey responses reflect the medical trend expectations of the Aon professionals, clients, and carriers represented in the portfolio of Aon medical plan business in each country. The trend rates presented in this report do not include any allowances for potential employer countermeasures such as cost-containment plan amendments or the impact of any attendant employer negotiations with carriers.



1952 to 2017 Remembering a healthcare visionary

Dr Humphrey Zokufa was born in Somerset East, in the Eastern Cape, on the 25th October 1952. He attended Primary School in a village called kwaNojoli. He completed high school at Healdtown Comprehensive School, a Methodist school located near Fort Beaufort.

He obtained his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of the North in Limpopo and went on to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a Post-doctoral Fellowship from the University of Minnesota, St Paul Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, USA. He proceeded to complete a Diploma in Health Management from the University of Cape Town. Dr Zokufa was registered with the South African Pharmacy Council as a Pharmacist and as a specialist in Clinical Pharmacokinetics.



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