27 February 2013
MIDRAND, JOHANNESBURG – Yesterday, Treatment Action Campaign activists picketed at the Africa Intellectual Property (IP) Forum and handed over a memorandum to Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, before his keynote address. Activists were demanding that the draft IP policy, that will lead to patent law reform, be made public. 26 February 2013. Members of TAC and MSF picketing at the Africa IP forum. Photo: Laura Lopez Gonzalez Minister Davies responded that the draft policy was now in its final stages and would be released for public comment soon. He spoke of the need for South Africa’s IP policy to balance “the rights of innovators and the rights of humanity”. “There needs to be both incentives for...
25 April 2013
With World Immunisation Week (April 20 – 26) drawing attention to vaccinations, Nicky Willemse turned the spotlight on Dr Seth Berkley...The United States medical doctor specialising in infectious disease epidemiology, who is chief executive of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi Alliance), is determined to take vaccinations to 250–million children in the developing world by 2015, potentially saving four–million lives...However, Daniel Berman, general director of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) South Africa (MSF SA), said there was still room for improvement in countries with particularly weak health systems, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where there continues to be huge outbreaks...
19 April 2013
Just days into the rollout of fixed-dose combination (FDC) antiretrovirals (ARVs) by South Africa’s HIV treatment programme - the world's largest - activists are raising fears of drug shortages...Motsoaledi launched the phased rollout of FDCs on 8 April at a small community health centre north of the country's capital, Pretoria. New patients and HIV-positive women who are pregnant or breastfeeding will be the first to receive the new medication...But stock shortages have already been reported in Western Cape Province and more are thought to be occurring in other provinces, according to activists. In March, the Western Cape Department of Health told AIDS lobby group the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) /...
18 April 2013
Tuberculosis remains South Africa’s leading cause of death. This year alone, the country will see 500 000 cases, of which about 3% will be resistant to both of the most commonly used anti-TB drugs. The majority of these patients will have caught drug-resistant TB from someone in their community, most will never have had TB before in their life...One of the critical issues in treating TB is early identification of patients so that you can treat them early to avoid unnecessary, preventable deaths. We welcome the continued roll out of the GeneXpert, a new tool that allows for better and faster diagnosis of TB and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) — including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB)...Read article HERE
22 April 2013
The government planned to overhaul intellectual property laws to improve access to cheaper medicines by making it harder for pharmaceutical firms to register and roll over patents for drugs, a senior official said yesterday... If approved by parliament, the changes should mean cheaper medication for cancer and HIV/Aids in South Africa, which has one of the world's highest HIV infection rates..."South Africans are missing out on affordable versions of life-saving medicines because generic competition is blocked by frivolous patents that prevent or delay generic competition," Julia Hill of Doctors Without Borders' Access Campaign said in a statement...Read article HERE
08 April 2013
Health activists hailed the launch of the new fixed dose combination ARV therapy by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday but there’s some concern about the state’s ability to deliver it to all who need the drug... Motsoaledi said at the launch in Pretoria: “We will be starting with newly diagnosed HIV-positive persons eligible for treatment, HIV-positive pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.. ..Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) project coordinator in Khayelitsha, Lynne Wilkinson, said: “Overall, MSF is happy about the long overdue availability of fixed dose combination ARV therapy in the public sector... Read article HERE
01 November 2012
Download the report Piloted by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Khayelitsha, the award-winning ART Adherence Club model focuses on patient participation and peer support, for improved treatment adherence. This simple model allows patient groups to collect pre-packed, two-month supplies of treatment from lay health workers either at the clinic or outside of the clinic - whether at a local library or at a fellow patient's home.ART Adherence Clubs give stable adherent HIV patients easier access to their treatment, while unclogging clinics and freeing up scarce nurses and doctors to manage new or at-risk HIV patients.Today, the Cape Town Metro is home to more than 400 of these clubs as part of a...
04 April 2013
For doctors like South African Venessa Naidoo, working in war-torn Syria means providing life-saving treatment to the needy is a daily struggle…Naidoo, who is currently furthering her studies at the University of Cape Town, has been on missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan under threat of bombs, and in South Sudan, operating out of a tent…"We can't stop the war, but access to health is a basic human right. We debriefed all the time – during the mission and after... Read article HERE