Finding culturally acceptable ways for body donation

Understanding people’s cultural practices concerning the treatment of their deceased could help find solutions to the challenge of accessing bodies for medical training. As part of their training, medical doctors and students receive instruction in human anatomy through lectures and practical dissection sessions. In these practical sessions, they are given the opportunity to dissect deceased...
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Detecting Parkinson’s before it’s too late

Focus should be placed on non-motor symptoms as an early warning mechanism for early diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s. About 5,2 million people suffer from Parkinson’s disease (PD) worldwide, PD affects s primarily older people, with men being particularly at risk. Both genetic makeup and environmental impacts, such as the type of job a person does, can make someone susceptible to...
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A new norm in health science education for South Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we think about training our future healthcare practitioners. Lockdown, social distancing and remote access to education have become the new way of life. Health science students and academics across Africa are impacted by this new normal, with students being sent home to stay safe. Students and lecturers have had to adapt to online teaching and learning,...
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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. To read more of Dr...
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Focusing on the risks of homebound work

Online meetings, teaching and learning on electronic devices during the COVID-19 era might lead to serious and permanent health risks in the future. Keeping a social distance, even from family and friends, has become the “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic. People across the world are increasingly using e-devices to connect socially, for education and for work. This may have far-reaching...
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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. To read more of Dr Mhlongo’s article,...
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COVID-19: An unseen and vicious enemy

People infected and affected by HIV are at an increased risk of complications and death due to the coronavirus pandemic. There remains a lack of information about coronavirus immunity and antibodies. Limited data thus far indicate that antibodies capable of combating the virus only peaks for about 3 weeks but declines thereafter. Coronavirus-2 can also mechanistically evade immune restriction....
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Seeing the need for change

Policymakers should acknowledge even mild visual impairment as a disability. Millions of people are affected by poor vision that limits their ability to engage safely in day-to-day activities. This may be as simple as not being able to read labels on a medicine bottle, or as serious as being unable to drive due to poor vision. To read more of Dr van Staden’s article, please click...
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The link between HIV, heart disease and stroke

With universal access to treatment, people living with HIV have an increased life expectancy. Unfortunately, they are at a higher risk of developing diseases that ultimately result in heart disease and stroke, possibly at a young age. South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world. Fortunately, treatment has been made available to all, and as a result, there is a rise...
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Prevent burns and save a life

Adopting safe practices to prevent burns go a long way to preventing accidental burn injuries. If a burn does occur, first aid in the home is imperative to reduce the impact of the burn. Burns are the most common cause of death in children under four. Hot water burns are the most frequent cause of burns in this age group. In South Africa, 161 children are severely burnt each month. To read more...
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Maintaining dignity in death

Body donation is the act of altruistically giving one’s body to anatomists for teaching and research that benefits the medical profession. Cadavers (the bodies of deceased persons) are essential for teaching and research in anatomy. As an alternative to pauper burials, many universities accept donations of bodies. Body donation is an honourable act and it allows the bodies of those who remain...
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Want more bang for your buck? Choose generic medicines

A simple way to cut medicinal cost is to select a generic medicine over a brand. The South African healthcare system makes more medicines available to its citizens using this principle. Generic medicines are the cheaper version of the originator brands (originals). Generics and originals contain the same active ingredient, are equally safe and effective but generics cost less to manufacture. To...
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