All the best health stories from
the Bhekisisa team this week
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If you’ve caught us at a health conference or a lecture, you might have started to notice that journalists are always looking for a plug point. 

Mainly because we're always like this:

(Thank you @CerfontaineJean at the Competition Commission's private healthcare report released this week.) 

I was jostling for space at the Presidential Health Summit when Netcare CEO Richard Friedland asked a single, poignant question.

The answer is, like most good stories, a rabbit hole. In it a constellation of issues, not least of all the way we are defined in a thousand different small decisions we take each day. (You might have seen our recent editorial on this when it comes to newsrooms). 

This week has been all about the rands and cents of our healthcare — public and private. What drives how much money we spend from the way industry is structured to the mess of a money pit we call corruption

The dodgy tenders and deals for limos and spas make the headlines. The smaller, everyday petit corruption doesn’t and yet it perhaps more than the big figure scandals is what begins to shape us as workers, as people as institutions. 

So, what did  Friedland ask that day? Read on and find out. 


Laura López González

Help us keep quality health journalism and social justice reporting free. Click here.

The Lean Healthcare Summit will inspire the healthcare community to advance lean thinking and practice in their facilities to improve efficacy, free resources, reduce waiting times, impact staff morale, delight patients and save lives. During the Summit you will hear case studies and talks from Lean CEOs and leading international Lean practitioners on meeting the challenges in raising performance in healthcare and related organisations. There will be a particular focus on the African context.

We are proud to host three public sector hospital CEOs as speakers, including Grey Dube of Leratong Hospital, Gladys Bogoshi representing Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital CEO Bhavna Patel. Sharon Vasuthevan, Executive at Life Healthcare, one of South Africa’s top private hospital groups, will also be speaking.

All these leaders have embraced Lean and enjoy the benefit that it has brought to their healthcare facilities. John Toussaint, the keynote speaker, is the founder and Chairman of Catalysis, USA. He is a world-renowned healthcare improvement leader working across the globe, including South Africa. Don’t miss out on hearing more from these local and international healthcare Lean leaders. Contact Mia Faull for more information.
Think corruption in healthcare is all about dodgy tenders? Think again.
It was a week of milestones: The Competition Commission finally concluded its more than five-year investigation into what exactly is making private healthcare so expensive. (ICYMI: Our Laura López González gave us the skinny on the inquiry that's gone on long enough to count as one of her longest relationships.)

And in a striking coincidence, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched his Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum just a day later. The forum itself has been in the works since last October's Presidential Health Summit and in no small way thanks to civil society. 

Go behind the headlines with Laura as she reflects on what new data and forums mean... and what it will really take to curb the corruption that happens closer to home than we'd like to think. In fact, that could be happening in a practice or hospital near you right now.

Get the full story
If you ran a hospital, what would be the first thing you’d do every morning? Find out why the answer will change the way you look at corruption in the healthcare sector. @Bhekisisa_MG reports. If you ran a hospital, what would be the first thing you’d do every morning? Find out why the answer will change the way you look at corruption in the healthcare sector. @Bhekisisa_MG reports.
The national health department says the risk of stockouts is low after it has had to postpone the rollout of a new HIV treatment regimen containing the drug, dolutegravir, for a second time. Stocks of the drug were already in the country when the National Health Council asked for more safety information.  
Dolutegravir is back in the news again. South Africa has had to delay rolling out the latest HIV drug for a second time as the National Health Council calls for more safety data about associated weight gain and a possible low risk of birth defects associated with the antiretroviral. 

So when can people living with HIV expect to get their hands on the medication set to replace efavirenz and nearly double the percentage of new infections averted between 2019 and 2038 in the country?

Find out in this exclusive story from Laura López González. 

Read the story here
New #HIV treatment could be in patients’ hands by next January. But is the country’s contraception programme ready? Find out, via @Bhekisisa_MG: New #HIV treatment could be in patients’ hands by next January. But is the country’s contraception programme ready? Find out, via @Bhekisisa_MG:
Could data be the answer to improving our health services while also saving money? Gavin Fischer travelled to a clinic in Delmas to look at how a small farm clinic in Delmas is changing the face of patient care with numbers. Listen to the podcast here.

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Have 5 minutes? Take our short NHI survey.

Help us gauge public participation around the National Health Insurance, freely and anonymously.

If you’d like to add your voice, take five minutes to complete our 13-question survey. The survey also allows civil society members to upload their submissions to the NHI and whether or not they would like these to be made public.

While the survey is anonymous, we plan to analyse and publish the overall results on our website, and make the anonymous dataset available publically. Submissions marked for public consumption will be made available on our website as well as via The centre would like to thank our civil society reviewers who helped us draft and refine the survey questions

The deadline for input is 5 December
Click here to complete the survey
Over the last few days, Bhekisisa in your inbox has been flooded with new subscribers — especially from our home province: Gauteng. Welcome one, welcome all:

Tebello Mofokeng from Gauteng 
Charles Hongoro of the Human Sciences Research Council
Moses Khoza Hlatshwayo of Sizanani Older Persons
John Sharpe from Gauteng
Moremi Nkosi of AfroCentric Health
Sbusiso Mchunu from Gauteng
Abdul Saib from Gauteng
Dike Moloto from Gauteng
Alice Banze from Gauteng
Elijah Tjiane of Bakoni Medical suppliers
Colbert Rikhotso of RKM
Lameez Omarjee of Fin24
Alta Botha from Western Cape
J Moodley from Gauteng
Prince Mudau of Prince Holdings
Rakhee Ramnarain of Renal Care Team Dialysis Centres
Sumeet Baitchu from Gauteng
Dean Mewse of Lenmed
Bronwynn Engelbrecht from Gauteng
Anne Thomson from Eastern Cape
Annalien Steyn of Altron BSI Kronos Workforce Management
Pitso Moloi of Dr Moloi PI Inc
Tumi Malatji from Limpopo
Lefu Motseko from Gauteng
Jonathan ter Wolbeek from KwaZulu-Natal
Yvette Booysen from Eastern Cape
Lee Coetzer from Western Cape
John Sibanda of Wits University
Asogran Nayagar from Gauteng
Rehana Bhorat from Western Cape
Tiffany Naidoo of Medtronic
Sthokozo Msomi from KwaZulu-Natal
Lenadine Koza of the South African Medical Research Council
Errol Hicks from KwaZulu-Natal
Jeanne Woodman from Gauteng
Yolanda Lemmer from Gauteng
Louise Campbell of EVMS
Jonathan Mabote from Gauteng
Astrid Ellaya KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health
Johan Bothma from Eastern Cape
Carol Bosch from Western Cape
Angie Kapelianis of the South African Broadcasting Corporation
Lidal Govindu from KwaZulu-Natal
Mzimkulu Mbanjwa from Gauteng

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Opportunities from around the web:

Call for public comment, National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill — deadline extended

The Portfolio Committee on Health invites stakeholders and interested parties to submit written submissions on the NHI Bill now before 29 November.

The objective of the Bill is to achieve universal access to quality healthcare services in South Africa as per Section 27 of the Constitution. 

As part of this, the Bill sets up the creation of an NHI Fund and outlines its powers, functions and governance structures. The Fund will be used to strategically purchase healthcare services on behalf of citizens and certain categories of foreign nationals to ensure the equitable, effective and efficient utilisation of its resources.

Deadline: 29 November
Click here to submit your comment
For any inquiries email Vuyokazi Majalamba or call her on 021 403 3770 or 083 709 8522

PS ICYMI: Our recent story about the quality of public participation made some major waves. Now, we've created a survey to help put some numbers behind the narratives.

Take a couple of minutes to take our 13-question survey and help us gauge the level of public participation around the process and possible ways to improve it.

While the survey is anonymous, we'll publish the results on our website, at the end of the submission period. They will also be made available on We will not include submissions marked as private in the results.

A special thank you to our civil society reviewers who helped us draft the questions!

Call for Applications, Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH)

Young health systems researchers are encouraged to apply for this mentorship programme. During the course of the programme, successful candidates will receive e-coaching as well as in-person training on topics such as scientific presentation, networking and communication. Fellows will then participate in the Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Dubai in November 2020.

Deadline: 6 February 2020
Find out more 

Meta-Research for Transforming Clinical Research, What should we change in the way we are doing research, 25 November 2019 — Paris

Organised by the Methods in Research on Research (MiRoR) consortium, this meeting will look at meta-research, for instance, within preclinical studies as well as opportunities for data sharing, including within the pharmaceutical industry.

Other subjects to be discussed include tools and strategies to increase the replicability of studies and new approaches to evaluate researchers. Registration is free, but seats are limited.

Click here to find out more

Project manager, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) — Botswana

GIZ seeks to employ an antiretroviral (ARV) drugs value chain project manager to be based in Gaborone, Botswana.

The manager will prepare in-depth analysis of development opportunities within the ARV value chain, plan and monitor the efficient use of project finances, build, maintain and update a monitoring and evaluation system and support the programme manager in preparing high-quality reporting.

The successful candidate will have a master's degree or equivalent in pharmacology, biomedical sciences, biotechnology and / or public policy, public administration or an equivalent. 

All candidates must be fluent in English and knowledge of an additional international language will be considered an advantage.

Deadline: 4 October
Find out more

Call for applications, Rise Up: Gender Equity Initiative (GEI)

Rise Up, a leader in the global movement for gender equity launched the GEI in partnership with Cummins Inc. in order to advance education, opportunity, social justice and gender equity in South Africa.

The organisation will select 20 civil society and non-profit leaders from Gauteng and Durban to participate in a week-long advocacy and leadership accelerator workshop in February 2020. The purpose of the workshop is to build their advocacy capacity, strengthen leadership skills and develop a holistic understanding of the issues affecting women and girls in their communities.

Leaders will then have the opportunity to apply for competitive seed funding to launch their strategies to advance gender equity and justice across the country.

Deadline: 28 October
Find out more

Call for nominations, Aspen New Voices fellowship

Nominations are now open for the Aspen Institute's New Voices 2020 fellowship. The opportunity offers development experts from across Africa, Asia, and Latin America a year-long programme of media support, advocacy training research and writing coaching.

The institute seeks leaders from countries that are underrepresented in global development conversations. Successful candidates will live and work in the communities they service and advocate for changes they want to see at home. Twenty-five fellows will be selected for the 2020 class of which 15 will be experts in fields such as infectious and non-infectious diseases, food security, mental health, development economics, health and human rights as well as climate change.

The remaining 10 will be experts working on the frontlines of sexual and reproductive health rights.

Deadline: 15 October
Find out more

Public lecture: Harnessing the Immune Response — To measles elimination and beyond, National Institute for Communicable Diseases — Johannesburg

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases will be hosting Melinda Suchard on 4 November at 5.30 pm as part of the Poliomyelitis Research Foundation's 14th James HS Gear Memorial Lecture. 

The talk will take place in the James Gear Auditorium.

RSVP by emailing Irma Latsky or contact them on 011 555 0395

Call for papers, BioMed Central (BMC)

Submissions are now open to contribute manuscripts to the following journals: BMC Public Health; Environmental Health; Environmental Sciences Europe; Globalization and HealthMicrobiome and One Health Outlook.

The theme across all journals is environmental justice. Papers should shed light on the contribution evidence-based research can give to develop better practices and policies towards stronger environmental justice.

Submissions can include but are not limited to research on air pollution, sewage management, water systems management, drinking water quality and pesticides.

Deadline: 1 November
Find out more

Call for abstracts, Health Systems Trust

Abstract submissions are now open for the 2020 edition of the South African Health Review (SAHR). The coming edition's theme is equitable healthcare for people with disabilities in South Africa.

The Health Systems Trust is seeking abstracts providing fresh insights into health systems strengthening efforts for equitable healthcare for persons with disabilities. Preference will be given to manuscripts that take into account the complexities and opportunities for developing and sustaining inclusive health systems, especially in the context of universal health coverage.

The review will represent an evidence base which can be used to strengthen health systems and services to inform future policy development in South Africa.

Deadline: 31 October
Find out more

Call for female experts in any field, Quote This Woman+ — Various locations

Quote This Woman+ is a project to establish an online database of women and non-binary experts to improve gender representation in sourcing among the media. During the election season alone, Quote This Woman+ fielded more than 500 calls from journalists wanting to increase the voices of women in the media.

Keen to be quoted? Submit your details to

Deadline: N/A
Find out more

Have something to say or an opportunity to share? Let us know. Email tip-offs, comments or story and opinion suggestions to 

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The Bhekisisa Team
Copyright © 2019 Bhekisisa Development Media NPC. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, Metal Box
25 Owl Street, 4th Floor, Braamfontein Werf, 2092, Johannesburg, South Africa

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