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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Postpartum depression in teenage mothers raises alarm

New research shows that one in ten South African teenage mothers have experienced thoughts of suicide. Teenage mothers often hide postnatal depression as they fear unsympathetic responses from family, friends and healthcare providers. Untreated postpartum depression negatively influences the teenage mother’s parenting skills, her development and health seeking behaviour. To read more of Ms...
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Women could benefit substantially from medical male circumcision

The results of research conducted in the area of medical male circumcision reveal that the benefits of the procedure extend to women. Female partners of males who have been medically circumcised have a lower risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). For several years, men have been the direct recipients of the messages concerning the benefits of male medical circumcision...
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Keeping an eye on HIV

A simple retinal measurement helps to predict loss of vision in people living with HIV. The loss of the retinal nerve fiber layer’s thickness occurs well before the loss of vision and may serve as an internal alarm clock to maintain wellness in people living with HIV who appear to be healthy. Antiretroviral treatment has increased the lifespan of people living with HIV. It has also improved...
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New model for rehabilitation of people living with HIV

UKZN in collaboration with the SAMRC and Wits University has developed a model of care to improve rehabilitation services for people living with HIV in resource-limited settings. The study assessed the degree and impact of functional limitations/disability in people living with HIV using long term ART. Please...
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Innovative health care provision in low & middle income countries

Addressing healthcare needs of populations in rural and under-resourced settings presents numerous challenges. A model is being piloted in KwaZulu-Natal in which outreach teams comprising community health workers deliver PHC services at the household level. This study will identify perceived successes and shortcomings in this model to inform future practice.   To read full article written...
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Is VAT on essential medicines costing public healthcare?

All medicines in South Africa, including those identified as essential, are subjected to 15% value-added tax (VAT). This may be hampering healthcare efforts, considering the therapeutic value of certain medicines in the private healthcare sector. High medicine prices in the private sector are a result of mark-ups in the supply chain. One of these mark-ups is government-imposed VAT.   To...
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Overcoming avoidable blindness through training in vision care

Optometric services are a key resource for addressing the challenge of avoidable visual impairment affecting rural communities. However, the majority of optometrists are located in urban areas, limiting accessibility to eye health and vision care services for disadvantaged populations. A decentralized training model at UKZN promises to change this. To read the full article written by Dr Diane...
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HOME-BASED EXERCISE ADDS LIFE TO YEARS LIVED WITH HIV

UKZN and Wits University researchers have found that community workers in KwaZulu-Natal can safely teach people living with HIV how to exercise in their own homes. This can improve quality of life and physical function, and may also save money in the public health sector. To read the full article written by DRILL fellow Dr Saul Cobbing, click here. Please...
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