Perspectives of religious denominations on body donation

South Africa is a multi-religious country with Christianity being dominant. Christianity is the most practiced religion in the world, with more than two billion followers and a multitude of denominations that vary in spiritual values and beliefs. The practices of Christians within different denominations in South Africa are diverse. If denominations vary in this manner, the possibility of...
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Ethical principles guiding human tissue research

South African Regulations[1] provide for the donation of a human body, tissue, blood, blood products or gametes from any person with the informed written consent of the person.  Deontology is defined as the moral duty to do the right thing and the moral duty to refrain from things which are wrong . Therefore, the ethical norm of human tissue research must be informed by deontological ethics. The...
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Exploring religio-cultural practices of body donation

Body donation is defined as an informed and free act of giving one’s body after death – this is generally regarded as an altruistic act. Several factors impact on the willingness of the public to donate their bodies to science. Included among these are culture and religion. Culture has several definitions such as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious,...
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The procurement of Cadavers for research

Human tissue is instrumental for research in anatomy.  However, controversy and debate surrounding the procurement of human tissue have arisen in recent years.  Reliance on unclaimed bodies has been the practice in several countries whilst South Africa has body donation programmes where challenges nevertheless still arise. This has resulted in an increased awareness of maintaining high ethical...
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COVID-19 treatments: Beware the hype

Researchers warn against “miracle cures” promoted through the politicization of the global COVID-19 outbreak. The success of vaccines in preventing infectious diseases has given us hope that COVID-19 could be controlled or even eliminated. Despite scientists working around the clock, there is still no safe and effective vaccine, nor is it expected that there will be one soon. With cases in South...
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Come on kids, let’s defeat the coronavirus

A book for children that will help them to understand and deal with COVID-19 has been written. Children around the world are affected by COVID-19. They have been sent home from school and are expected to keep their distance from their friends and extended family. Children need to live holistic, healthy lives with appropriate social and educational development. COVID-19 has caused much anxiety...
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QI Mentorship for frontline TB & HIV health professionals

A QI model could help HIV and TB caregivers find creative ways to solve challenges using existing resources. Healthcare workers in public health facilities are inundated with high HIV and TB patient numbers, lack of adequate infrastructure and limited resources. Yet, increasing demands are placed on them to deliver high-quality services and meet ambitious targets for identifying HIV and TB...
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Taking care of community carers

Community health workers need to be given the care and support they deserve. Community health workers are often the front line of the healthcare system. In KwaZulu-Natal, these teams are mostly made up of women drawn from the local community and play a significant role in bridging the gap between communities and government departments and sectors. They require various types of support to equip...
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The Green Whistle: A Breath of Fresh Air in Burn Dressing Pain Management

More than one and a half million South African’s get burnt each year. Over 161 children are severely burned each month. Burns can happen to anyone and do not discriminate. All patients with burns experience pain during their treatment and recovery. Dressing changes are unavoidable in burns and they can be excruciating if done without adequate pain relief. Pain management plays an essential role...
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Knowledge is power – decisions about healthcare and vaccines

Being forewarned is being forearmed, especially where health, life and death are concerned. The world is on edge, waiting for the first COVID-19 vaccine to be developed and made available. For many, a vaccine is a safety barrier against the coronavirus. However, individuals who remain reluctant to get vaccinated pose a serious threat to the uptake of vaccines. Anti-vaccination movements are...
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Caring for the caregivers

Healthcare workers in developing countries operate in highly stressful environments. Studies to date have shown that the majority of healthcare workers in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from emotional exhaustion, impacting their ability to care for their clients. Caregivers are often expected to be fundamentally motivated by compassion for those more vulnerable than themselves – even at a cost to...
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Supporting Healthcare Workers during Covid-19

When caring for others, healthcare workers can often neglect their own needs which can result in them experiencing burnout or compassion fatigue.  This neglect over time can exact a heavy toll on the overall wellbeing of a healthcare worker. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about many uncertainties and challenges for the broader public, but also for our healthcare workers. While ordinary...
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