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Weekly News 04 October 2020

SA health-care workers 'afraid to practice and afraid for their lives', doctors say

Sunday Times 05 October 2020 - A group of health-care professionals have warned of the “destruction” of a functional health system in the country should the persecution of doctors without following due process continue.

They said the majority of functional health-care systems globally have established procedures and mechanisms to ensure no medical professional reaches criminal prosecution without clear evidence of reckless negligence. 

COVID-19 WRAP More than 1,500 new cases recorded in SA

Times Live 04 October 2020 -  1,573 new cases recorded in SA

The health ministry on Sunday reported the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in SA as 681,289, an increase of 1,573 from Saturday. There are also 38 more Covid-19 related deaths - 37 from Gauteng and 1 from the Western Cape - bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in SA to 16,976. SA's recoveries stand at 614,781, which is a recovery rate of 90%. 

SA and India ask WTO to waive rules to aid Covid-19 drug production

Times Live 04 October 2020 - SA and India want the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive intellectual property rules to make it easier for developing countries to produce or import Covid-19 drugs, a letter to the WTO shows.

In their letter dated October 2 the two countries called on the global trade body to waive parts of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which governs patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property rules globally. 

Corruption part of health sector's DNA, says SIU head Andy Mothibi

Times Live 04 October 2020 - Corruption has always been rife in the health sector. Covid-19 just hoisted the flag.

This is according to the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Advocate Andy Mothibi, who was speaking during a webinar on Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum (HSACF) on Sunday night. Mothibi said their observation over the years was that there were a lot of investigations in the health sector. He said there was a “measure of impunity”, with people “just really expecting that nothing will happen to them”. 

How changing pneumococcal vaccine schedules can save costs and lives

Business Day 04 October 2020 - Low- and middle-income countries could consider dropping one of the primary doses, reducing the procurement cost of pneumococcal vaccination by a third

The current Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine schedule requires three doses of the vaccine. These are usually the most expensive vaccines in childhood immunisation programmes. SA, currently the only African country that procures these vaccines without financial assistance from Gavi, spends almost half its entire vaccine procurement budget on PCVs. 

Gauteng health head resigns days after suspension

Business Day 03 October 2020 - Gauteng health department head Prof Mkhululi Lukhele has resigned with immediate effect

This comes just two days after he was suspended by Gauteng premier David Makhura after recommendations by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in a report presented to the premier on September 22. 


AstraZeneca vaccine trial restarts in Japan

Business Day 02 October 2020 - Trials in the UK, Brazil, SA and India have already restarted, but US trials remain paused as regulators widen their probe

Clinical trials of AstraZeneca and Oxford University's experimental Covid-19 vaccine have resumed in Japan, almost a month after being put on hold due to an illness of a British volunteer, while discussions with US authorities continue. 

Centralised global network to compare Covid-19 vaccines

Business Day 02 October 2020 - Laboratories will centralise analysis of samples from trials of Covid-19 candidates

A major non-profit health emergencies group has set up a global laboratory network to assess data from potential Covid-19 vaccines, allowing scientists and drug-makers to compare them and speed up selection of the most effective shots. 

EDITORIAL: New financial conduct law is urgently needed

Business Day 01 October 2020 - The Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill will, among many other things, regulate the behaviour of financial advisers and intermediaries

The Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill cannot come soon enough and is expected to be tabled in parliament early in 2021. The bill will empower the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), established under the Financial Sector Regulation Act, to set conduct standards and to regulate the operations, culture, product design, selling, marketing, advertising and internal procedures of financial institutions, including banks, insurers, retirement funds and collective investment schemes. 

Netcare offers glimpse into impressive Covid response

Business Day 30 September 2020 - Trading statement also shows the brilliance that is SA’s health-care capability

Netcare’s trading statement on Tuesday offers a glimpse into how the private hospital group handled the Covid-19 pandemic, especially how it reduced the number of days patients spent in intensive care. It also shows the brilliance that is SA’s health-care capability.


Discovery medical aid premiums frozen for first six months of 2021

Business Day 30 September 2020 - More than 1.3-million Discovery medical scheme main members will not face a contribution increase for the first six months of 2021 after the medical scheme generated huge surpluses.

The scheme’s administrator, Discovery Health, said on Wednesday it had accumulated more than the legally required 25% of income it has to keep in reserves. Discovery Health CEO Ryan Noach said it would pass on this surplus to members for the first six months of the year. 

Bonitas announces the lowest increase in 10 years - from 0%

BizCommunity 28 September 2020 - Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas Medical Fund announced an unprecedented 0% increase on its BonFit Select plan and a weighted increase of 4.6% across all plans.

Financially solid, younger new members, two new plans, virtual healthcare and a renewed focus on Managed Care for chronic diseases are just a few of the insights from the Bonitas 2021 product launch.