Medical aid members who are seeking any type of contribution relief should get in touch with their financial advisor or broker to ascertain the relief options available to them and the impact on benefits,” advised Susan Weedman, Alexander Forbes Health senior consulting manager. – BizCommunity (2 June 2020)
“The government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a building block towards SA’s healthcare future under the National Health Insurance programme,” according to Pres Cyril Ramaphosa. - News24 (1 June 2020).
On May 27, Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize admitted that SA was suffering from a backlog of tests. According to his statement, as of May 27, 634 996 tests had been conducted across the country. But of those, “a total of 29 948 tests reflects a backlog ofunallocated tests”.
The statement said this challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally (that is, inadequate supply of extraction kits and high throughputs of PCRkits). It must be acknowledged that this capacity issue is a global challenge.
Tension between private sector doctors and the government is coming to a head over a dispute about payment and legal immunity when it comes to treating COVID-19, reported Daily Maverick (28 May 2020).
“In a letter to members, the South African Private Practitioners’ Forum (SAPPF) says its repeated attempts to negotiate with the National Department of Health in “offering our support in combatingthis pandemic” have not met with a satisfactory response. At the heart of the issue isthe treatment of “state-responsibility patients” for Covid-19 in private medical facilities - and what the doctors will be paid.”
A South African HIV researcher, Quarraisha Abdool Karim,has been awarded the Christophe Merieux Prize, one of France’s top science prizes (close to R9.6-m), for her research.
Karim found that a topical gel of the HIV antiretroviral drug tenofovir, could stop many women being infected with HIV during sex. Abdool Karim, 60, has previously won SA’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, as well as a L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science award. Her husband,
fellow epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim, is the SA government’s main scientific advisor for COVID-19.
The impression that the Western Cape is experiencing a more severe epidemic than the rest of the country is skewed by the fact that it does proportionately more testing and tests more aggressively in known hotspots, according to the provincial government. (As of last week, it had conducted 1 200 tests per 100 000 people, against Gauteng’s 837 per 100 000.) – Financial Mail (28 May 2020).
Black-owned hospital group, RH Bophelo, will be making a secondary listing on the Rwanda Stock Exchange on 1 June. The group, which owns nine hospitals and manages six on behalf of smaller standalone hospitals, targets lower and middle-income earners who ordinarily cannot afford medical aid, but also do not want to rely on state hospitals.
HIV experts fear an upsurge in new HIV infections after lockdown because thousands of people are defaulting on treatment.
Clinics across the country are reporting a dramatic decrease in patients collecting their medication and the diversion of staff from HIV outreach programmes to Covid-19 screening could slow down HIV-testing and treatment initiation.
“Private hospital group, Netcare, has followed several other companies and scrapped its interim dividend payment for the first time since listing on the JSE in 1996.” – Business Day (26 May 2020)
It has also withdrawn its full-year guidance, secured a waiver of its debt covenants and increased its undrawn banking facilities to R4.8-bn.