Archived Articles

The Late Professor Sam Fehrsen, Pioneer, Pathfinder

The late Professor Sam Fehrsen (26 August 1938 – 22 May 2018) is the recipient of the Dr Humphrey Zokufa Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 for the Titanium Award honoured at the recent 20th Annual BHF Southern African Conference which was held the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Register now for BHF & Wits Business School Trustee Development Programme

With governance being key in solving some of the challenges that our country is facing at the moment, it is imperative to keep abreast of governance trends and skills required of the Board of Director.  Medical scheme stakeholders are urged to register for the NQF level 07 accredited Trustee Development Programme presented by the Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa in partnership with the Wits Business School.

Congratulations to the Winners of 2019 Titanium Awards

23 July 2019: Cape Town, South Africa: The fifth edition of the Titanium Awards saw the inclusion of a new category known as the Best Paper Award. The award seeks to promote a balance of scientific rigour and relevance to the industry so that science is accessible to member trustees. Shivani Ranchod became the first winner of the Best Paper Award.

NHI Bill

To achieve universal access to quality health care services in the Republic in accordance with section 27 of the Constitution; to establish a National Health Insurance Fund and to set out its powers, functions and governance structures; to provide a framework for the strategic purchasing of health care services by the Fund on behalf of users; to create mechanisms for the equitable, effective and efficient utilisation of the resources of the Fund to meet the health needs of the population; to preclude or limit undesirable, unethical and unlawful practices in relation to the Fund and its users; and to provide for matters connected herewith.

BHF welcomes the NHI draft bill

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has welcomed the release of the
latest version of the National Health Insurance (NHI) draft bill by South Africa’s Parliament.
According to the BHF. This is an important step towards the establishment of Universal
Health Coverage (UHC).

2030 healthcare scenarios released on the state of South Africa’s healthcare as NHI unfolds

31 July 2019: South Africa: Scenario planner and strategist, Chantell Ilbury, presented the results from the Healthcare Scenario Planning 2030, which outlined a range of possible outcomes of the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI). These scenario outcomes range from successful implementation of the NHI which translates to universal and affordable access to healthcare to all South Africans, to a complete failure of the NHI driven mainly by distrust, poor leadership and discord between private and public health institutions on the other extreme.

Healthcare excellence celebrated at the 20th Annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) of Southern Africa Conference

25 July 2019: Cape Town, South Africa: Exceptional professionals and organisations in the healthcare sector were celebrated on Monday evening at the 20th annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) of Southern Africa in recognition of the contribution they have made to the growth of the industry in the sub-Saharan Africa region.

South African can draw lessons from other countries on how to make NHI a success

24 July 2019, Cape Town, South Africa: Though the public healthcare sector in South Africa is buckling under pressure from unprecedented demand, it is faring than its peers in certain areas. However, delegates to the 20th annual BHF conference heard that the public healthcare system in the country has to leverage the power of technology to close performance gaps and facilitate universal access to healthcare.

China industry expert shares insights on the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on healthcare

24 July 2019, Cape Town, South Africa: Though the public healthcare sector in South Africa is buckling under pressure from unprecedented demand, it is faring than its peers in certain areas. However, delegates to the 20th annual BHF conference heard that the public healthcare system in the country has to leverage the power of technology to close performance gaps and facilitate universal access to healthcare.

Quality healthcare is a prerequisite to economic growth – says Health Minister at the opening of the 20th Annual BHF Conference

23 July 2019: Cape Town, South Africa: Interventions aimed at providing universal access to healthcare, such as the national healthcare insurance (NHI), must not be viewed merely as consumption expenditure, but rather as catalysts for human development and sustainable and inclusive economic growth, said Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, presenting the keynote address yesterday at the 20th Annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) Conference currently being held at the International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa.

Press release: Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) calls for the revision of prescribed minimum benefits

17 July 2019: South Africa: The prescribed minimum benefits (PMB) in the healthcare sector needs to be revised as the current regime is discriminatory and not conducive for the health and human development of the population, says Dr Rajesh Patel, Head of Benefit and Risk at BHF, speaking ahead of the upcoming 20th annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF)of Southern Africa Conference to be held in Cape Town from 21 – 24 July 2019.

Healthcare disparities and a way forward for the region’s healthcare systems

28 June 2019: Since their independence, the governments of many countries in the Southern African region were able increase access to health services, but the quality of healthcare provided remains a challenge, and there are disparities in the quality and extent of healthcare services accessed between the rich and poor.

20th Annual BHF conference to focus on healthcare 2030 – the future of healthcare

23 May 2019, South Africa: In its 20th year, the annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) of southern Africa conference will explore a future-focused approach to healthcare. The theme of the conference, Convergence 2030 – Healthcare reimagined, will reflect on the past 20 years and define the desirable future for healthcare systems for the year 2030 and the role of convergence in achieving this.

Convergence in healthcare is the imperative of our time

There is no exciting time like the present in the global healthcare system – funders are making smarter investments in new technologies, policymakers are extending the reach of quality healthcare and governments are increasing the share of the fiscus spent on health – all these are converging to shape a smarter, caring and accessible African healthcare system of the future.

Register now for BHF & Wits Business School Trustee Development Programme

With governance being key in solving some of the challenges that our country is facing at
the moment, it is imperative to keep abreast of governance trends and skills required of the
Board of Director. Medical scheme stakeholders are urged to register for the NQF level 07
accredited Trustee Development Programme presented by the Board of Healthcare Funders
of Southern Africa in partnership with the Wits Business School.

5th Annual Titanium Awards launched

We are excited to launch the 5th Annual Titanium Awards, which will once again continue to cast a spotlight on ACCESS; QUALITY; LEADERSHIP; and THE HEALTH CITIZEN. 

Convergence 2030 – Healthcare reimagined

As we celebrate our 20th iteration of the BHF annual Conference, the different themes from the 19 sessions have built on every nuance, action, shaping conversations that influence policy makers to strengthen our health systems in the region.

Revamped PCNS brings more transparency and convenience for service providers

The rebranded Practice Code Numbering System (PCNS) brings greater transparency and
alignment between healthcare service providers (HSP), who are the suppliers of healthcare
and medical schemes, who funds and facilitates the payment.

Medical Aid consumers benefit by joining young

Medical Aid consumers can avoid “late joiner penalties”, imposed on applicants joining
medical schemes later in life, by joining a scheme early in their careers when they are
younger and healthier.

BHF HFMU calls for collaboration in the healthcare industry to effectively curb FWA

Poor collaboration at the right level, the lack of accountability and no proactive participation were identified as some of the stumbling blocks in the fight against malfeasance in the healthcare industry at the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Indaba. The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa held the Indaba from 14-15 November to mark International Fraud and Awareness Week.

Deadline looms for swapping of medical schemes

Medical Scheme beneficiaries have until Friday 30 November 2018 to change their options by either swapping, buying up or down in their schemes. Beneficiaries can only change their benefits options once a year.

Health summit a starting point to strengthening health system in South Africa

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) says affordable, accessible and
good quality health care should be the cornerstone for a unified health care system for all
South Africans.
Speaking on the sidelines of the two-day Presidential Health Summit held from October 19 -
20, 2018, BHF Managing Director Dr Katlego Mothudi said: “The Heath Summit is a very
important step towards a progressive dialogue on health reforms in the country.
Dr Mothudi said the Board had noted that the various stakeholders of the health sector had
been having their own conversations with little or no interaction with one another.
“We are aware of the problems experienced in the healthcare system. We have however not
articulated them in a way that can contribute to seeking solutions.,” said Dr Mothudi.
The Presidential Health Summit aimed to outline a roadmap towards the National Health
Insurance by rebuilding the health care system to provide quality healthcare for all.
“The Presidential Health Summit is an important element in this course - especially now. We
have seen definite progression outlining the path towards universal health coverage,” said
Dr Mothudi.

Why reform is needed to sustain medical schemes to the benefit of beneficiaries

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) welcomes the Council for
Medical Schemes Annual Report for the 2017/18, released today in Cape Town. The report
provides a comprehensive report on the status of medical schemes industry in South Africa.
Despite the strong financial performance of schemes, there are still challenges in the
medical schemes’ environment says Head of Research, Charlton Murove from the Board of
Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa, speaking after the release of the 2017/2018 annual
report by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS).

HFMU awards

As we join the global efforts to eradicate fraud, we are pleased to announce the launch of the inaugural healthcare fraud investigator of the year award and the investigative excellence of the year award.  The awards are aimed at recognising individual and team healthcare investigator(s) that have demonstrated outstanding body innovations and body of work in investigating healthcare fraud.  We are pleased to unveil the call for nominations criteria document. Please click here to access the nominations criteria document.

BHF available to comment on NHI, MSA and fraud waste abuse

The Southern African Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) is available to comment on critical
issues facing the healthcare sector including the Medical Schemes Amendment (MSA) Bill
and the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill which are currently under review.

The future is African and healthcare is central to the continent’s transformation

The future will be African. The demographic figures alone are staggering: in the coming  35 years almost two billion babies will be born on the continent , and by the end of the century almost half of all the children in the world will be African. There will soon be more than a billion young people on the continent even as the populations of other regions are shrinking and aging.

Lancet Global Health Commission report released

The Lancet commission released a report this week on High-quality health systems in the Sustainable Development Goals era:

How gender-responsive are the world’s most influential global health organisations?

A new landmark report launched this year reveals that only a select group of the world’s top global health organisations place gender equality at the heart of their operations, both programmatically and institutionally.
The Global Health 50/50 Report,  first of its kind, provides a thorough review of gender-related policies of more than 140 major organisations working in and/or influencing the field of global health.  The report was developed by Global Health 50/50, an independent initiative housed by the University College London Centre for Gender and Global Health.

Gender equality has seemingly been embraced as a priority in global health however, there is growing concern that too few global health organisations walk the talk by defining, programming, resourcing or monitoring gender, either as a determinant of health, or as a driver of career equality in their own workplaces. How is your organisation doing?
Click here to access the full report.


We would like to inform you of the interruption to the PCNS website.

Delivering quality health services: A global imperative for universal health coverage

World Health Organization (WHO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank Group have released a global report that describes the essential role of quality in the delivery of health care services.
As nations commit to achieving universal health coverage by 2030, there is a growing acknowledgement that optimal health care cannot be delivered by simply ensuring coexistence of infrastructure, medical supplies and health care providers.
Improvement in health care delivery requires a deliberate focus on quality of health services, which involves providing effective, safe, people-centred care that is timely, equitable, integrated and efficient. Quality of care is the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.
Download Full Report

HMI Provisional findings and recommendations

The long awaited Competition Commission’s provisional findings and recommendations from the Health Market Inquiry were released on the 05 July 2018.

The long walk to NHI for medical aid members

Medical scheme members could be moved into umbrella medical schemes operating in a similar way to umbrella retirement funds on the long walk to National Health Insurance.

Big data move set to radically improve health care

THE adoption of digital solutions for data capturing in the healthcare sector are anticipated to revolutionise the delivery of services and solutions in the 15 country Southern Africa regional block. The revolution is poised to be felt from testing, early detection and prevention to remote patient monitoring to help patients navigate the healthcare system with digital services, disease impact measurement and budget allocations. "Data will inform disease profiling to get a better understanding of its prevalence and establish current and future costs of diseases in health care," said Charlton Murove, head of research: Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa BHF.

Lessons From Egypt’s Social Health Insurance

Vice Chairman of the Health Insurance Organization (HIO), Egypt, Mohsen George, shares some insights on Egypt’s Social Health Insurance (SHI), challenges and lessons learned. He was speaking at the 19th Annual Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) Conference held in Sun City.

BHF supports the progress made by the Minister to accelerate efforts towards action to enable the success of NHI implementation

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has welcomed progress made towards universal healthcare for all citizens with the proposed amendments to the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill as announced by the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and the National Health Insurance Bill

The Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, released the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and the National Health Insurance Bill for public comment on 21 June 2018.

More needs to be done to redefine ethics in healthcare in SA

The health ombudsman says more needs to be done to redefine ethics in healthcare.

Meet our speakers thus far: 19th Annual BHF Conference 17-20 June 2018

We are excited to announce the speaker line up for the 19th annual BHF conference, themed Putting the healthcare citizen first|Pushing the boundaries of the impossible, the Conference will be held at Sun City from 17 - 20 June 2018.

Putting the Health Citizen First

Managing Director at the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) of Southern Africa, Dr Katlego Mothudi, talks about putting the health citizen first in the delivery of universal health coverage (UHC) and what can be done to move beyond technical policy evidence towards an action plan driven through participation, collaboration and implementation.

BHF Calls for Abstracts

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) is calling for abstracts and case studies relating to its conference theme: Putting the health citizen first, before 25th April 2018.


The 4th Annual Titanium Awards are aimed at recognising the contributions by healthcare professionals and organisations in creating affordable, accessible and sustainable healthcare throughout the Southern Africa region.

The 19th BHF Annual Southern African Conference CSI initiative.

The 19th BHF Annual Southern African Conference CSI initiative is aimed raising 1 million rand to assist with the sponsorship of three girls from disadvantaged communities across the SADC region to attend a two year programme at the African Leadership Academy in South Africa.

BHF mourns the passing away of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) mourns the passing away of iconic struggle veteran and ANC stalwart, Winifred Madikizela-Mandela, a revolutionary, freedom fighter and humanitarian who made profound contribution in the fight against apartheid's racist and unjust policies.

Why you should attend the conference

Plans are well underway for the 19th BHF Annual Southern African Conference and we are please to invite you to this prestigious event, to be held in Sun City. This year's event is scheduled to from the 17th-20th June 2018 in Sun City.

Exhibitors & Sponsors

The 19th Annual BHF Southern African Conference will offer your organisation an opportunity to be directly involved by means of sponsorship and exhibiting.

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) is hiring!

The Stakeholder Relations & Communications department at BHF is currently seeking people to fill the following positions (click on the links below to view the adverts):

Were the seeds of 2017 sown in 2007?

According to PwC’s Health Research Institute’s annual report ‘Top health industry issues of 2017, A year of uncertainty and opportunity’ – patient-centrism, consumer choice, quality, affordability – are hallmarks of the pivot toward value-based care, one of the most powerful forces reshaping the industry.

Alarming statistics regarding newborns

UNICEF has warned that global deaths of newborn babies remain high, particularly in poor countries with the Central African Republic, Somalia, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Chad among the worst places to give birth.

Study: Vaccines prevent death and alleviate poverty

Increased investments in 10 vaccines administered in low- and middle-income countries over a 15-year period could avert up to 36-million deaths and 24-million cases of medical impoverishment.

Real time monitoring (RTM) submissions for 2018

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has issued a circular concerning further information regarding the Real Time Monitoring submissions for 2018.

Request for HIV, TB and STI data for the South African National AIDS Council

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) is collaborating with the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) to collect Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculosis (TB) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) data in the population covered by medical schemes for the 1 January to 31 December 2017 reporting periods.

NICD: Listeriosis cases rise to 872

The NICD says 60% of the cases have occurred in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape with 13% and KwaZulu-Natal at 7%.

Life Esidimeni: Untold consequences of trauma

Families of the 140-plus psychiatric patients who died after being moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to irregularly registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have suffered so much that some themselves are now dying.
Media reports blaming relatives for the Life Esidimeni deaths have upset families, who continue to suffer mentally and physically from the trauma. Since the controversial move followed by dozens of deaths with many patients still missing, two families have suffered another tragic loss.

Drug makers want department’s nod for another price hike

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are lobbying the Department of Health to give them an extra price increase for private sector sales, in an attempt to soften the blow of the modest raise permitted for 2018.

PCNS Detailed Fee structure 2018



This notice serves to confirm that the 2018 Annual Renewal Registration fee is R300.00 including VAT which is due by the 31st of March 2018.

In diabetes war, Novo Nordisk aims to break mold with new pill

After nearly a century building a company worth $125 billion based on injectable drugs, Denmark’s Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) - the world’s biggest insulin maker - wants to prove this year it can transform the diabetes market with a pill.

Using Tech to Drive Efficiency in Cancer Therapy

There’s a growing need for healthcare professionals and the sector to find innovative methods and technology to treat cancer. This is according to Head Oncologist in the Radiotherapy Unit at Life Hilton Private Hospital, Dr Ziad Seedat, who cited South Africa’s growing cancer prevalence rates.

SA still cannot find source of worst listeriosis outbreak in history

The death count in SA’s listeriosis outbreak — the worst documented listeriosis outbreak in global history — has topped 100.

PMB definition project: Draft PMB definition guideline for mesothelioma

The Council for Medical Schemes has published the draft PMB definition guideline for small cell lung cancer.

High Hopes for SA Pharmaceutical Progress in 2018

The world is currently benefiting from a wave of pharmaceutical breakthroughs including targeted personalised treatment and biologics. In South Africa, which has traditionally lagged behind the rest of the world, requiring five to seven years in the licensing of new drugs compared to 18 months to two years in most western countries, there is cause for optimism on progress in 2018.

Healthcare Needs Insurance, But What About Clinical Trials?

Globally the number of clinical trials has been on the increase, indicative of both the growing innovation in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, and an equally increasing burden of disease needing new medical cures and treatment. 

No work for SA’s youngest heart specialist

Unbelievable as it may sound, Dr Viwe Mtwesi (32), the country’s youngest cardiologist, is unemployed.

New medicine dispensing model a hit in Mpumalanga

The new, recently introduced Central Chronic Medicines Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme for patients on antiretrovirals and other chronic medication has already proven to be a major benefit.

Healthcare sector fraud on the rise

Medical aid schemes were defrauded to the tune of R10-billion in 2017 alone, the Board of Healthcare Funders said.

Adcock Ingram climbs after positive HEPS forecast

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Adcock Ingram’s said on Tuesday that headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months to end-December will be at least 27%, or 40c, higher than the previous period.

‘Holidays’ for health on the up

MEDICAL tourism, with an estimated growth of between 15 percent and 25 percent each year globally, is an industry that tourism and medical entrepreneurs in South Africa can cash in on. This is according to Charnel Kara, tourism specialist at FNB Business.

Yolanda’s private clinic provides affordable healthcare for moms

Professional nurse and social entrepreneur Yolanda Mpilo has carved her niche in the medical field by providing maternal and child health care to those who are deprived of it.
After she had completed her training at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital she noticed a lack of quality healthcare for mothers and children who were frequenting public hospitals.

Through the Looking Glass

For the past decade, the topic of innovation in healthcare has dominated our collective conversation. Instead of focusing on traditional innovation, let’s look at where we stand in regard to non-traditional innovation. Let’s look at where it’s happening, why we should be hopeful about it and why we should still be staying awake at night.

Government urged to ban intersex genital mutilation

Three young intersex South Africans have decided to go public with their stories to bring awareness to the plight of intersex infants and children who are still currently receiving unnecessary operations in this country to make their sex characteristics fit the binary of male or female.

Tackling drug-resistant TB through molecular methods

Rapid molecular techniques, such as generation sequencing, spoligotyping and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units variable number of tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR) typing, are the tools Dr Anneke van der Spoel van Dijk, a senior medical scientist in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of the Free State (UFS), uses to investigate the spread of TB in the Free State population. Her work also informs decisions about how best to treat patients with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

CMS Circular 1 of 2018: Quarterly Statutory Returns submission for period ending 31 December 2017.

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has issued a circular to all Principal Officers and statutory return users regarding the 2017 quarterly statutory return online program which is now available on the CMS website.

A healthier future through mobile healthcare innovation

Next time a trip to the doctor seems daunting, consider this: in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, patients must travel long distances to access treatment. Even once they see a practitioner, there is still concern about receiving the medicine and treatments they need. In developed countries, healthcare challenges are different — often revolving around improving quality, outcomes and costs — but they are challenges nonetheless.

Nursing shortage at dire levels with no funding for first-year students

In spite of a shortage of nurses‚ 700 nursing candidates will not be able to study for a four-year diploma at three Gauteng colleges this year — because the Gauteng Health Department cannot afford to fund their studies.

‘Mini pill box’ that stays in stomach for a week could vastly slow HIV infection

US scientists say they have found a way to prevent between 200‚000 and 800‚000 new HIV infections in SA over the next 20 years.

Where healthcare innovation may lead in 2018

Where will healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship lead in 2018? Nancy Hanrahan, professor and dean of the School of Nursing at Northeastern, has a few ideas.

Health of people key to economic health

THE recently launched World Bank and World Health Organisation (WHO) report on progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) suggests South Africa is on its way towards achieving universal health coverage, with its National Health Insurance scheme. The country received a score of 67 out of a possible 100.

High hopes for SA pharmaceutical progress this year

The world is currently benefitting from a wave of pharmaceutical breakthroughs including targetted personalised treatment and biologics. In South Africa, which has traditionally lagged behind the rest of the world, requiring five to seven years in the licensing of new drugs compared to 18 months to two years in most western countries, there is cause for optimism on progress in 2018.

Private healthcare in SA - continued decline and a solution

We entered 2017 reeling from a series of double-digit medical insurance premium hikes. It was becoming clear that schemes are in trouble; undercut by unregulated, selective insurance products and forced into tighter and tighter modes of managing care delivered. We were facing an affordability crisis then - that, without serious systematic change, schemes will be unable to derail their progression towards shrinking memberships and eventual collapse.

Big pharma puts its control of patents ahead of its care of patients

January 1 isn’t just a day for making New Year’s resolutions and watching American football. It’s also become the day when the pharmaceutical industry unveils price increases, more or less en masse.

Aspen uncertain as to why shares dropped

Aspen Pharmacare said on Tuesday — after its shares slid more than 10% on the JSE — that it was unable to confirm whether investigative research house Viceroy Research was compiling a report about the company.

Scheme gets trademark, R10m back

Acting Judge M Senyatsi in the High Court in Pretoria not only set aside the transaction, but ordered Alumni Trading 264 to repay R10 million to the scheme.

Calls for Nominations

Department of Health invites professional nurses, registered midwiferies and registered nurses for nominations to fill vacancies.

The Top 5 Trends In Customer Experience For Healthcare

Healthcare is an industry that affects everyone, but one that has historically had a reputation for less-than-positive customer experiences. However, customer experience is now becoming a focus of many healthcare companies and clinics. This is aided by new approaches and technology that have the power to transform healthcare. Here are five top trends for healthcare customer experience for 2018 and beyond.

Aspen CEO wants FSB probe

Aspen Pharmacare CEO Stephen Saad says he wants an inquiry into market manipulation after the company’s shares slumped on rumours that Viceroy Research was preparing a report on the group.

Is the rumour mill standing between you and better birth control? Find out.

This implant offers all the protection from unwanted pregnancies with almost none of the clinic visits. So why did many say, ‘thanks, but no thanks’? Inserted in about the time it takes to make two-minute noodles, South Africa’s latest contraceptive implant promised to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies for up to three years. Now, research may finally reveal why three years after Implanon NXT was introduced in the country, women still aren’t lining up for the scientifically-proven and seemingly easy-to-use birth control.

Notice from SAMA

Applications for the Paediatric Hospital Level Expert Review Committee will now be accepted until close of business on 8 January 2018.

Speculation rife that Life Healthcare is looking to exit Max Healthcare

LIFE Healthcare Group is considering a sale of its stake in India’s Max Healthcare, according to people with knowledge of the matter. They said the company was working with Barclays to explore potential interest in its holding in Max Healthcare, which is one of India’s largest private hospital chains. Life Healthcare and Mumbai-listed Max India each own 49.7 percent of the business. The stake had drawn initial interest from private equity firms, the people said.

Five data trends that are influencing healthcare

Technology, data, computing and human power can provide answers for challenges in the healthcare sector, some of which haven't even been thought of yet, as well as offering opportunities for success.

Comparing and understanding medical aids in 2018

Medical aids can be difficult to understand. After reading the emails, websites, short and long brochures, rules and annexures I struggle to know what cover I’ve got. This makes it hard to compare plans and options. And I’m not alone. The Health Market Inquiry has noted “the inability of individuals to compare options effectively”.

Limpopo moves to curb malaria

The Limpopo Malaria Institute says a high number of malaria cases have already been reported in the province and work is underway to disinfect close to 800 000 households across Limpopo.

Situational Report on NICD Listeria outbreak

Descriptive epidemiology
As of 03 January 2018, a total of 717 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 January 2017 (Figure 1). Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (61%, 436/717) followed by Western Cape (13%, 92/717) and KwaZulu-Natal (7%, 50/717) provinces. Cases have been diagnosed in both public (66%, 470/717) and private (34%, 247/717) healthcare sectors. Diagnosis was based most commonly on the isolation of Listeria monocytogenes in blood culture (70%, 502/717), followed by CSF (24%, 175/717). Where age was reported (n=683), ages range from birth to 93 years (median 26 years) and 39% (268/683) are neonates aged ≤28 days (Figure 2). Of neonatal cases, 96% (258/268) had early-onset disease (birth to ≤6 days). Females account for 55% (382/692) of cases where gender is reported.

Obesity in young South Africans doubles in six years

The number of young South Africans suffering from obesity doubled in six years while this took 13 years to happen in the United States. This is according to research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on December 14 last year.

Cultural beliefs discourage organ donors

While thousands of South Africans are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplants, it remains a difficult task to convince rural black communities to donate organs because of their cultural beliefs.

CMS Circular 81 of 2017

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has announced the dates for the Principal Officers and members of the Board of Trustees forum sessions for 2018.

Appointment of provisional liquidators for COMMED

The Master of the High Court has on 27th November 2017, appointed Ralph Lutchman, Beneste Dicks and Phuti Dibete of Concord Administrators (Pty) Ltd as provisional liquidators to manage the winding up of the Community Medical Aid Scheme (COMMED).

There’s more to evidence-based policies than data: why it matters for healthcare

A critical part of reaching the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in 13 years’ time is to ensure that everyone can access equitable and affordable healthcare – more commonly known as universal health coverage.

10th Asia Pacific Global Summit on Healthcare

10th Asia Pacific Global Summit on Healthcare will be held on the 12th -14th March 2018 in Singapore. This conference will feature prompt keynote presentations, Oral talks, Poster presentations, workshops, Symposiums and Exhibitions.

Call for applicants for Digital Health Cape Town's accelerator programme

Designed to foster local ehealth innovation, Digital Health Cape Town (DHCT) has opened applications for its accelerator programme. Each participant will receive R150,000 worth of enterprise development funding and will have access to mentors from industry specialists, workshops, networking as well as exposure to local partners and investors.

Proposed levies for medical schemes 2018/19

The Council for Medical schemes has published its proposed levies on medical schemes for 2018/19 in the Government Gazette on 17 November 2017.

Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa 2018

The HISA2018 will take place from the17th to the 18th October 2018 at the Vodaworld in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mediclinic revenue flat in constant currency terms

Mediclinic reported revenue that was flat in constant currency terms for the six months ended September 30 2017. Revenue was up 10% to £1 405m. Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebtida) were up 5% to £232m - a decreased of 5% in constant currency terms.

The downside of the digital era Poor lifestyle and stress induced diseases

The so-called fourth industrial has reshaped the way we work and live, but the digital era is also taking a toll on our health, particularly in the workplace.While this modern world of work is opening up amazing possibilities, it has also brought a new set of challenges and health risks,” says Clement Chinaka, MD of Old Mutual Corporate.

Malaria Alert

High numbers of malaria cases are being reported in the malaria transmission areas (Vhembe and Mopani districts) in Limpopo(including some cases in farms along the Lephalala River, Waterberg) and in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga province. Compared to previous years, a modest increase in cases in the Kruger National Park and private reserves in the area has been confirmed.

When the tiniest hearts break Behind SAs shortage of paediatric heart surgeons

The country can't produce its own paediatric heart surgeons. But that may be beginning to change, starting in Cape Town. The nurse carefully places her stethoscope on the left side of the tiny 10-week-old baby’s chest. She frowns. There is no heartbeat. She then shifts the device to the right side of the infant’s chest. Finally, she hears his little heart pulsating. But she’s still worried. His heart is on the wrong side. “You’ll have to see a doctor urgently,” she tells the baby’s mother.

DisChem or Clicks which to buy

South Africa may be dealing with a nasty economic headache and depressed consumers, but that hasn’t stopped people from flooding through the turnstiles at SA’s two JSE-listed pharmacy groups, Dis-Chem and Clicks. For investors, Dis-Chem’s listing nearly a year ago has been a windfall, with the stock up 53 percent. Clicks has been no slouch either, up 32 percent over the past year. Which is likely to leave investors’ wallets the healthiest? It is not an easy call to make, according to Daniel Isaacs, an analyst at 36One Asset Management. Both pharmaceutical groups are led by experienced management teams and pin their hopes on the drug store operating model.

Aspen completes acquisition of AstraZenecas anaesthetics portfolio

Aspen Pharmacare’s share price was up in mid-morning trade, following the announcement of the conclusion of the commercialisation rights agreement. Aspen Pharmacare said on Wednesday it had completed the acquisition of the rights to AstraZeneca’s global anaesthetics portfolio.

Pfizers profit more than doubles as new cancer drugs offset expired patents

New York — US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported on Tuesday that third-quarter profit more than doubled as strength in newer drugs to treat cancer and other illnesses offset the hit from patent expirations.

Government memorial service for the late Mr Joe Maila The Ministry of Health spokesperson

The memorial service will be attended by the media, various stakeholders from the private sector and government communicators from three spheres of government.

Department of Health Puts forensic analyst on suspension


Minimum data specifications with regard to Epilepsy and Parkinson Disease

CMS Circular 64 of 2017: Minimum data specifications with regard to Epilepsy and Parkinson Disease.The Managed Task Team 1, one of the task teams of the Industry Technical Advisory Panel (ITAP), has recently completed a project that focused on developing measures for the measurement of the quality, outcomes, and ultimately the value proposition of managed care interventions. The initiative is focused on the impact of managed care insofar as the techniques relating to funding of benefits for medical schemes beneficiaries are concerned.

CMS Circular 65 of 2017 Quarterly Statutory Returns submissions for 2017

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) would like to inform all Principal Officers and statutory return users about the 2017 quarterly statutory return online program which will be available on the CMS website as of 13 October 2017.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed 449 cases of an outbreak of plague in Madagascar, with 48 deaths (case fatality rate 11%). The outbreak is primarily located in the middle third of the island, around the Antananarivo (239 cases and 21 deaths) and Toamasina Province on the east coast (147 cases and 9 deaths).  A single area on the northern coast is affected.

MEC Gwen Ramokgopa spells out problems with health system

Poor management is at the heart of the issues plaguing the Gauteng health department, according to its political head, health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa.

World Medical Association marks 70th anniversary on Medical Ethics Day

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) invites all doctors to join it, and the World Medical Association (WMA), in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the WMA, which coincides with Medical Ethics Day.

Discovery scheme members to pay about 7 point 9 percent more in 2018

Discovery Health Medical Scheme this week announced its contribution increases, as well as its product and benefit updates, for 2018.

Rapidly increasing life expectancy but disease threatens progress

The latest Global Burden of Disease study data shows that South Africa continues to battle with HIV, road injuries and violence as well as diseases related to obesity.

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BHF is in the process of setting up an in-house specialised research unit, in support of its member constituents in pursuit of an effectively functioning Healthcare Sector. The aim of the unit will be to commission and publish cutting edge research that will produce meaningful knowledge outcomes in support of an effective and sustainable Sector. To this end, the BHF is looking to employ a highly qualified and experienced Head: Research reporting into the MD.
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The key purpose of this role is to set up the Research unit, managing the development and implementation of the research programme.

Medicinal cannabis guidelines being put together

PARLIAMENT has heard that the Medicines Control Council (MCC) is simplifying the legal framework for medicinal cannabis to make it easier for patients to use these products. It has already re-classified medicinal cannabis from a tightly-restricted schedule 7 product to a permitted schedule 6 or schedule 4 product, depending on its composition, and next week is expected to approve the final guidelines governing the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes.

Underfunded and understaffed

In South Africa private and public health systems exist side by side. The public system serves the vast majority of the population, but is underfunded and understaffed. The wealthiest of the population use the private system and are better served than the poor.

Plan to tackle heart attacks strokes to save 100million lives

Global control of blood pressure, salt reduction and artificial trans fats elimination could save 100 million lives.

Childrens hospital a mammoth boost not a white elephant

The R500m was an estimate based on the cost of running a 200-bed children’s hospital at full throttle.

New patents policy the wrong cure for improving access to medicines

Collaboration and innovation rather than property expropriation will drive down the price of live-saving drugs.

Diabetes test may result in incorrect reading

PEOPLE of African descent may mistakenly get the all-clear from a widely used type 2 diabetes test - called HbA1c - according to an international study published in PLOS Medicine. Scientists found 42 new genetic variants that influence a person’s HbA1c measurements, including one that could lead to Africans and African-Americans being underdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Gates fears foreign cuts may hit Africas AIDS fight

BILL Gates has warned ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York that potential cuts to foreign aid threaten the world’s chances of ending poverty and eradicating diseases by 2030, with particularly dire consequences for Africa’s HIV and AIDS efforts. A 10 percent cut in funding for HIV and AIDS could lead to the death of 5.6-million people by 2030, said the Microsoft founder ahead of the release of a report from his philanthropic foundation on how the world is progressing towards 18 of the health and poverty-related targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ascendis has Europe acquisitions in sights

ASCENDIS Health is eyeing bolt-on acquisitions in Central and Eastern Europe in 2018 to boost its business. In SA, the group said, it would target the fast-growing health and care industry, which still offered opportunities for growth. The healthcare group bought a number of companies in countries such as Cyprus that lifted its revenue for the year to June.

Adcock Ingram to buy Genop Healthcare

Adcock Ingram has concluded an agreement to buy South African specialist marketing and distribution company Genop Healthcare. Genop’s historical revenue was R400m a year, Adcock said in its voluntary Sens announcement. It did not say how much it had agreed to pay, as the deal is not a categorised transaction under JSE listing rules.

Makhura urges foreigners to settle hospital bills

THOUSANDS of patients from foreign countries with unpaid health bills owed to Gauteng hospitals may be in for a surprise, as Premier David Makhura plans to confront their embassies to recover the outstanding debts. Makhura said the drive to force foreign countries to settle health bills on behalf of their citizens would assist in staving off the financial burden faced by hospitals and clinics in the province.

Q and A with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi

In a National Health Insurance policy document released in July, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he wants to end medical aid tax credits. Chris Barron asked him.

In and out plan might work

THE management team at Advanced Health could be forgiven for getting out a Quaich bowl or two of something strong and peaty to calm the nerves after its latest results. The company is putting decent-sized bets on the table as it seeks to establish itself as a leading day hospital group in SA and Australia, and this has resulted in a chunky loss of about R60-million in the year to June.

What to look out for when changing medical schemes and benefit options

We all get to the point where we review our health care plans and costs and wonder whether the grass is greener on another side, or whether we could be getting more bang for our buck. But before you dive into making any changes to your essential medical aid cover, there are a number of important factors and implications that you need to thoroughly evaluate beforehand. The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has a big picture, independent knowledge of all the medical aid schemes on the market and recommends that you ask yourself these important questions:

Measles outbreak declared in KwaZuluNatal Province NICD will test for measles free of charge

An outbreak of measles has been declared in KwaZulu-Natal Province. An increase in number of laboratory-confirmed measles cases was observed in Ethekwini and Umgungundlovu districts from July 2017. As of 5 September 2017, a total of 23 laboratory-confirmed measles cases has been reported in four of the 11 districts in KwaZulu-Natal: Ethekwini (n=14), Umgungundlovu (n=6), ILembe (n=2) and Uthukela (n=1). Many of the cases are among persons aged more than five years, outside the age groups that were targeted by the national measles vaccination campaign conducted recently in 2017. Furthermore, the majority of the cases are from the private sector and within communities that are hesitant to accept vaccination for religious reasons.

The promise and peril of do it yourself HIV testing

One in two people living with HIV still aren’t on treatment, could DIY testing be the solution?

Cosatu opposition to private healthcare will scupper NHI

Cosatu’s opposition to the private sector having a role in the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) could fundamentally scupper the achievement of universal healthcare coverage in SA. says the Board of Healthcare Funders.

Treasury opts to defer sugar tax implementation

Implementation of the health promotion levy - previously known as the sugar-sweetened beverages tax - will be delayed until April 2018, Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat said.

Private sector skills and resources of enormous benefit to implementation of NHI

The achievement of universal healthcare coverage in South Africa could be thwarted by Cosatu's opposition to the National Department of Health's plan to allow the private sector to have a role in the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI).

Innovations in oncology explode as new treatments gain approval

Last week was historic in the fight against cancer. Novartis got approval for the first treatment in a revolutionary new class of drugs, shortly after Gilead Sciences spent $11.9bn on a biotech company working in the field.

Change at Novartis as CEO departs

NOVARTIS has announced the surprise departure of CEO Joseph Jimenez after eight years at the helm of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical company, handing over the challenge of selling underperforming assets and developing new medicines to a Harvard-trained doctor.

Overservicing unregulated PMB tariffs driving up costs

Knock-on costs are among the biggest drivers of expenses in the healthcare-funding sector, and the more services a healthcare professional performs, the higher the bill, says Patrick Masobe, the chief executive of medical scheme administrator and clinical risk manager Agility Health.

Private sector skills and resources cannot be lost to South Africas national healthcare project

Cosatu’s opposition to the plans of the National Department of Health to allow the private sector to have a role in the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) could fundamentally scupper the achievement of universal healthcare coverage in South Africa.

NHI Needs Medical Schemes to Survive

The Principal Officer of Bonitas explains why it’s imperative for measures to be put in place that will allow medical schemes to work in tandem with NHI.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza update

The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N8) in poultry is ongoing after its emergence in South Africa in June 2017. According to the OIE website, 24 localized outbreaks have been identified to date from three provinces (Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Western Cape) as follows: 10 outbreaks in commercial chickens, 3 outbreaks in commercial ostrich, 5 outbreaks in wild birds, 3 outbreaks in birds that were kept as a hobby and 3 outbreaks in backyard poultry. The OIE reports may be found at

BHF launches certification for medical scheme trustees

The BHF has launched a nationally recognised Trustee Development Training certification to support the medical schemes industry.

Medical aid scheme trustees oncourse

BHF launches certification for medical scheme trustees.

Roche cuts the price of breast cancer drug

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche had already lowered the price of its breast cancer drug trastuzumab to state patients and it was now provided at a limited number of hospitals, it said on Monday.

A doctor in your pocket

If there is a golden rule for everyday Internet use, "Don’t google your symptoms" is a pretty good candidate. Well, that and "Don’t read the comments section".Despite the huge store of health information online, googling your scratchy throat can be a risky route to erroneously self-diagnosing cancer of the larynx. Yet, clearly not every ailment requires a doctor’s visit.

Noncommunicable diseases a threat to the health system

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) threaten to overwhelm a health system already under strain from HIV and tuberculosis. Illnesses like cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure need stronger prevention and community-based programmes, including those involving community healthcare workers (CHWs), to “avert the growing burden of NCDs”.

Deaths rates declined due to HIV success

Death rates have declined, largely due to successes in HIV, but a lot more needs to be done to defeat its “terrible twin”, tuberculosis (TB).

Novartis starts testing new malaria drug as resistant strain spreads

Novartis began testing a new anti-malaria pill in Africa, advancing development of an alternative to its most effective treatment, which billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said risks losing potency.

Aspen hurt by ill winds lashing sector

AFRICA’S largest generic drug maker, Aspen Pharmacare, is trading at levels last seen in 2013 as negative sentiment towards healthcare companies persists. Regulatory bodies, meanwhile, are keeping a close watch on the sector. On Monday, the share was trading at R274.25, compared with R236.92 on August 22 2013.

BHF announces new Managing Director

The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has announced that Dr Katlego Mothudi will take on the role of Managing Director from 1 September 2017.

What is hurting Advanced Healths growth plans

The company, like the hospital industry, has been under pressure for some time. Day hospital group Advanced Health’s share price has come under pressure because its growth strategy is taking longer to bear fruit than expected.On Friday, the share price was down 1.85% at R1.06, closing in negative territory for the third week running.

Cancer leads big four in claim payouts

Disease's prevalence underlines why life assurance, medical cover are essential.Cancer is the leading cause of most claims paid by Old Mutual, the latest claims statistics released by the life assurer earlier this month show.

The most important healthcare company on the planet

How the digital revolution is changing medicine. When thinking of giants in the world’s healthcare sector, names like Johnson & Johnson, UnitedHealth or Pfizer may come to mind. However, speaking at the Growth, Innovation and Leadership summit in Cape Town last week, Frost & Sullivan partner Dorman Followwill said that none of these traditional names is the most important healthcare company in the world today.

South Africans urged to be organ donors

SURVEYS conducted by the Organ Donor Foundation this year show 71 percent of people are not willing to be donors, yet 77 percent would accept a donor organ. Countrywide about 4 300 adults and children in dire need of an organ are on a waiting list, yet only 361 transplants could happen last year. August is organ donor month and the foundation is urging people to register as donors.

Draft patent policy a vital step for increasing access to medicines

Intellectual property law would encourage competition and innovation by exploiting global flexibility provisions. The announcement that the Cabinet has approved the Draft Intellectual Property Policy of the Republic of SA: Phase I — to give the formal title — was made in a few terse lines embedded within the official account of its meeting on August 1. On the heels of this announcement, the detailed draft policy was released by the Department of Trade and Industry a week later.

Drug trade body is in support of patents renewal

The draft policy’s proposals would combat any spurious attempts to prolong drug company monopolies. The Department of Trade and Industry’s draft intellectual-property policy places too much emphasis on drug firms’ "ever-greening" patents on medicines, fuelling misconceptions about the practice, according to the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of SA (Ipasa).

Activists applaud policy to make lifesaving drugs affordable

Without the reforms, many medicines for cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis and mental health will remain unaffordable or unavailable in SA, says coalition.

Why does HIV kill more men than women

In 2016, 60% of women of 15 years or older living with HIV were on treatment. Less than half their male peers could say the same. Men are far more likely to die from an HIV-related illness than women, although women are becoming infected with HIV at a much faster rate.

Diabetes info app launched

The Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE) has launched its club app to provide people who have diabetes with valuable information on managing the condition and tools to track their progress.

NHI A partnership for quality health for all

Speaking to Independent Newspaper’s Kathu Mamaila, Precious Matsoso, directorgeneral
in the Department of Health, explodes the myth that the NHI will eliminate the
private healthcare system.

15th Edition of Mediscor Medicines Review released

MEDISCOR Pharmacy Benefit Management has launched the 15th edition of the Mediscor Medicines Review. Data gained from claims submitted by pharmacies, doctors and scheme members in 2015 and 2016 has been collated, compared and analysed. The data set included only fee-for-service medical schemes for which services were rendered for the entire period under review, representing approximately one million beneficiaries.

Medical schemes affected by dip in formal job sector

The group’s share price has plunged 22.45% in the past six months as fewer employed workers contribute to medical schemes. The poor performance of medical schemes has put pressure on payments made to providers such as Life Healthcare.

Health departments change to means test will aid poor patients

The development corrects the unintended consequence of the government’s failure to adjust the means test for 15 years. The Department of Health has adjusted the means test used to determine who is eligible for free or discounted fees at public hospitals, a move that could bring millions more people into the social security net.

Mediclinic enters primary healthcare market

Mediclinic Southern Africa has expanded its base into the primary healthcare market by buying into the Intercare group of companies. The latter operates 18 multidisciplinary medical and dental centres, four day hospitals and three sub-acute and rehabilitation hospitals in South Africa.

Clarification of process towards consolidation of healthcare risk pools

HAS come to the attention of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) that there appears to be a narrative in the industry that is attributed to the CMS to the effect that the regulator is going to close medical schemes that have less than 6 000 principal members in terms of Regulation 2(3) read in conjunction with section 24 (2) of the Medical Schemes Act, 131 of 1998.

Accused managers quit lab service

The National Health Laboratory Service’s (NHLS’s) head of procurement and its facility manager have resigned, but the state lab service is taking legal action against them following allegations of corruption and fraud.

Commed members to move to Bonitas

AFTER the Community Medical Aid Scheme (Commed) was placed under provisional curatorship by order of court in June, it has now been decided that all Commed members will be transferred to Bonitas Medical Fund. The Community Medical Aid Scheme (Commed) was placed under provisional curatorship by order of court on 2 June 2017.

Renewed support for sugar tax survey shows

Support for the government’s plan to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks has grown "significantly" since last year‚ a new survey has found.


South Africa – At the recent 3rd Annual Titanium Awards, the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) of Southern Africa honoured public and private healthcare sector organisations in the SADC region.

Launched in 2014, the Awards are an important event in recognising and celebrating excellence in the healthcare sector.

Laboratory strike enters fourth day with new wage offer on the table

The strike at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) entered its fourth day on Monday as unions presented a revised wage offer to their members. The strike — which began on Wednesday — has crippled the service‚ which provides laboratory and related public health services to over 80% of the population through a national network of laboratories.

SAs improving perinatal death stats a testament to HIV treatment says Pali Lehohla

SA’s perinatal mortality rate fell to its lowest level in more than a decade in 2015 as more women gained access to HIV treatment, statistician-general Pali Lehohla says.

Collaboration needed to combat medical aid fraud

Fraud, waste, abuse, and irregular payments within the healthcare sector are slowly crippling the industry, said the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF). At the recent BHF conference in Cape Town, delegates agreed that there is a deep need for increased collaboration between stakeholders throughout the healthcare industry and related investigative services to effectively tackle fraud and waste.

Minister urges provinces to pay lab debs

HEALTH Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi wants a law to be enacted to provide for a mechanism that will ensure the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) do not depend on provincial departments for funding.  “We believe it is important that NHLS is directly funded from the fiscus as opposed to provinces as there is no law to force them (provincial departments) to pay up,” Motsoaledi said yesterday.

GlaxoSmithKline to go for smart tech

Major drug makers are grappling with the effects of technology as digital apps offer patients new ways to monitor their health. GlaxoSmithKline has appointed former Wal-Mart Stores executive Karenann Terrell to the new senior position of chief digital and technology officer as the drug maker begins to move to smart tech systems.

Patientrelated information must be respected

Any patient-related information within the doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct, and must be respected, even after death. The South African Medical Association (Sama) said this following the release, and subsequent withdrawal, of a book detailing the last days of former president Nelson Mandela.The book was written by former SANDF Surgeon-General Dr Vejay Ramlakan, who was part of the medical team treating Mandela in the months before his death.

Drug resistance a major setback to HIV fight

More and more countries are reaching the “threshold” of resistance to the most commonly-used HIV drugs which could “undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV”, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). HIV drug resistance occurs when individuals do not take their medicines as prescribed. This gives the virus a chance to mutate to the point where the medication no longer works to suppress it - allowing it to multiply and make a person open to infections that can make them sick.

US plan to cut global AIDS funding has SA on edge

The US is the biggest international donor to SA’s HIV/AIDS efforts, but Trump's proposed budget puts this funding at risk.The Department of Health is anxiously waiting to see if the US Congress approves President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to global health programmes, as its decision could reduce donor support for HIV/AIDS in SA.

Mental illnesses costing SA billions

Mental health spend has increased by more than 80% in the past five years, reaching R2bn in 2016 with hospitalisation claims amounting to R32m more than predicted, according to Discovery Health CEO Dr Jonathan Broomberg. "Mental health spend increased by 87% over the past five years (from 2011 to 2016)," said Broomberg.

Cooperative bank for healthcare sector launched

The health economy received a boost with the launch of MediCoop CFI, a cooperative bank which is exclusive to the healthcare sector. MediCoop CFI offers healthcare professionals access to capital and investment. Although the concept of a cooperative bank has been tried and tested globally, it is new to the health sector in South Africa. 

Mediclinic CE Danie Meintjes to retire

The CE has been at the helm of the private hospital group since 2010 and oversaw the acquisition of Middle East hospital group Al Noor in 2015. Mediclinic International announced on Tuesday that CE Danie Meintjes would retire. Meintjes has been at the helm of the private hospital group since 2010, but his history with the company stretches back to 1985, when he first started as a hospital manager at Mediclinic Sandton.

Rising cost of healthcare fuels selfmedication

During the flu and allergy seasons, consumers turn to self-medication to build up their immune systems, preferring anti-flu tablets, cough medicines and antihistamines to avoid expensive doctor's visits.The rising cost of healthcare means that many South Africans have far less money to spend on treatments for illness. Consumers are thus increasingly opting for self-medication, a trend encouraged by widening access to the internet. A growing number of people are researching their health concerns and potential remedies online, even before seeking the advice of pharmacists. This trend is increasing consumers' confidence in their ability to self-medicate.

Medical aids may know their fate by 2020 under the National Health Insurance

Government and medical aids may be uncomfortable but necessary bedfellows. Medical aids may know their fate under the National Health Insurance (NHI) by 2020, says Paresh Prema, the head of benefits management for the Council for Medical Schemes. In the meantime, the government will seek to capitalise on private sector expertise, which currently serves about nine million South Africans, to help build the NHI, says Precious Matsoso, director general of the health department.

SA urged to tackle NHI as one

Countries that have established national healthcare systems have advised government to consider partnering with the private sector to ensure the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan is successful here. Representatives from these countries say that the only way to silence resistance while ensuring that every citizen has access to quality healthcare is to forge a healthy joint venture with the private sector.

Less choice but also smaller bills as NHI powers up

SPEAKERS at a Board of Healthcare Funders’ conference said members will find their medical schemes radically transformed over the next few years as benefits and benefit options are aligned with the National Health Insurance policy. Vishal Brijlal, a technical adviser on NHI in the Department of Health, told delegates the Council for Medical Schemes will start consulting on the introduction of mandatory membership of medical schemes for those who can afford it, as an interim measure on the path to NHI. Mandatory membership could bring about significant reductions in contributions as schemes will no longer face the cost of anti-selection - admitting members who join schemes only when they are ill and in need of treatment. Committees are being established to rapidly revise the current package of prescribed minimum benefits that all schemes are obliged to provide to align it with the NHI benefit package, which has yet to be detailed.

Gems worried about fraud and antiselection

The Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) now provides healthcare cover for almost 57% of eligible public service employees, Gems said in its annual report for 2016, released this week.Gems says it faced numerous challenges last year, including a sharp increase in claims, fraud and anti-selection.

Health department unveils edrug platform

The government and the private sector have moved to establish an electronic prescribing platform that will make e-prescriptions easier for doctors. Gavin Steel, chief director at the Department of Health, said prescribing drugs electronically would revolutionise access in private and public health.

NHI bill to come before Cabinet in November

The National Department of Health hopes to have the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill before Cabinet in November this year after which it will be made available for public comment.

Universal healthcare coverage costs under scrutiny

Cost and implementation remain major hurdles to the implementation of National Health Insurance, conference hears. Access to universal healthcare coverage is crucial for economic development, but the biggest challenges to realising it are cost and implementation. The Department of Health has published a white paper on National Health Insurance (NHI), setting SA on course to provide universal coverage. However, the white paper has raised debate about the efficacy of the department’s proposals.

Apartheid built healthcare inequalities NHI must dismantle them

LIKE birth, revolution is characterised by blood and pain. In a revolution or any radical change, there are two contesting forces - one fighting for change and the other for the status quo. It is understandable that the beneficiaries of the current order will fight tooth and nail to stop the revolution - and National Health Insurance is a revolution in the provision of health. The battle over the implementation of universal health coverage, a plan endorsed by the World Health Organisation, is not happening only in our country.

In the US, for instance, Obamacare, the US version of universal health coverage, is under attack by the new administration of President Donald Trump. We have our own Trumps in South Africa - those who are beneficiaries of a system that benefits the minority and excludes the majority oppose the NHI on ideological grounds. They do not want equity with regard to healthcare provision. They argue that the state should leave private healthcare alone and rather sort out the mess in public health facilities. They argue that the poor management and incompetence that characterise the public healthcare sector should not be exported into a private sector that works well.

National Health Insurance NHI white paper is approved

The Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi and his Deputy Dr. Joe Phaahla on Thursday, 29 June 2017 released details of the National Health Insurance (NHI) white paper as approved by Cabinet. The National Health Insurance is a health financing system that pools funds to provide access to quality health care services to all South Africans, based on their health needs and irrespective of their socio-economic status. The NHI represents a substantial policy shift that will necessitate a massive re-organization of the current health system, both private and public. Cabinet has approved the White Paper on the National Health Insurance, to be gazetted as a policy document.

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi letter to the Health Ombusman Prof Malegapuru Makgoba

The Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi will today, 29 June 2017 write a letter to the Health Ombudsman Prof. Malegapuru Makgoba asking his office to institute an investigation into allegations that drivers, cleaners and other unqualified persons are performing post-mortems in the public health facilities in South Africa.

Universal healthcare tops this years Annual Board of Health Funders Southern Africa conference

The Board of Health Funders (BHF) of Southern Africa will convene in Cape Town, South Africa, for their annual conference next month from 16 to 19 July.

Smoking down due to government restrictions

Smoking rates in South Africa have declined following the years-long ban on cigarette advertising‚ high taxes on cigarettes and the banning of smoking indoors in public places.

Former minister heads up new health care cooperative

MediCoop CFI, the financial cooperative that provides banking services exclusively to members in the health care sector, has appointment Theuns Botha as its managing director.

Africa must reboot its health systems to cope with noncommunicable diseases

When it comes to killer diseases in Africa many people think of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, or even Ebola. But the reality is that diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease – known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – are a major threat.

Regulators are the reason big pharma can charge what it likes

Pharmaceutical companies, such as Aspen, are buying built-in marketing rights, not just drugs, when they purchase other companies.

SA signs innovation agreement with Novartis

A high-level memorandum of understanding (MoU) for medical research and development has been signed between the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the department of science and technology (DST) and Swiss drug firm, Novartis.

DISCHEM Off to a healthy start

The pharmacy franchise has done very well in its first year of listing and is on an aggressive store roll-out.

Medici medical app launches in South Africa

A medical app, Medici, that is said to be revolutionising the doctor-patient relationship, is now available in South Africa. The next-generation secure messaging app enables users to communicate virtually with medical providers via text, call, or video.

Getting global fees right

There is some controversy about alternative reimbursement models in the commercial healthcare industry. Global fees contracts - where a single payment is made to a healthcare team to cover all costs including hospitals, either monthly, or for a defined episode of care such as hip surgery - have attracted most of the attention.

Slow going for CompComs health market inquiry

South Africa’s private healthcare industry is patiently awaiting news or findings from the Competition Commission’s (CompCom) health market inquiry (HMI).

NDoH in Talks with Healthcare Funders on NHI

“We have the infrastructure to look after 8.5 million people and could expand it to look after anyone who can afford to pay for NHI,” said Anderson. “The rest of the patients would be subsidised or whatever the department decides.”

Costly UK rentals hit Netcare subsidiary

CEO Richard Friedland says PropCo at the last minute changed some of the conditions the company thought were settled.

Supersized South Africa

Fat adults and stunted toddlers – the impact of South Africans’ poor diet is reverberating around the country.

Aspen Faces EU Antitrust Probe Over Pricing of Cancer Drugs

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. faces a European Union antitrust probe for ramping up the price of cancer drugs as the EU joins a global crackdown on the soaring cost of life-saving generic medicines.

District hospitals performing well

DESPITE ongoing complaints about treatment in government hospitals, a recent study on service delivery showed all provincial district hospitals in the Western Cape were compliant and were performing well against most standards. The report, which was released by the Public Service Commissioner (PSC), was based on a monitoring and evaluation study conducted at all 33 district hospitals in the province. The overall score was above 79 percent. The study, which was finalised last month, showed that the majority of hospital staffers at provisional district hospitals were courteous and respectful. The budget management for the 2015/16 year showed the majority of hospitals either overspent or underspent beyond a two percent threshold set by the department and the Treasury. The overall result for this principle was an average of 62.06 percent - meaning that hospitals were partially compliant.

Why the NHI may take softer approach

Cabinet subcommittee to vote on revised health insurance plan, which Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says will initially let private plans continue.

NHI to go ahead against any obstacle

NATIONAL Health Insurance (NHI), aimed at introducing affordable healthcare for all South Africans, will be implemented whether there is opposition to it or not. These were the stern words of Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, and Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology. Both Ministers are part of the ANC national executive committee sub-committee on health, education, and science and technology. Motsoaledi said the government had a constitutional responsibility to provide affordable healthcare to all citizens, irrespective of their economic status. He said the World Health Organisation recommended that countries spend five percent of their gross domestic product on healthcare, but that South Africa spends more than the recommended amount, and in a disproportionate manner.

Whats behind Life Healthcares troubles in the UK

Group’s interim earnings plummet on Alliance Medical acquisition.

China supports AUs plans to set up centres to control and detect disease in Africa

THE Chinese government has thrown its weight behind the AU’s plans to set up African Centres for Disease Control in the hope that early detection and treatment of diseases, such as the Ebola virus, will stymie the devastation of such outbreaks. At a press briefing titled China Africa Health Co-operation, in Beijing last week, China’s Health Ministry spelt out its commitment to improving healthcare on the African continent. Feng Yong, deputy director-general of the department of international co-operation at China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, said health experts met members of the AU in Ethiopia to finalise building African Centres for Disease Control. The centre’s headquarters would be in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and would take three years to build. A further five regional centres would be built in Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Egypt and Gabon.

Healthcare fraud is not a victimless crime

Imagine finding out that your pharmacist or doctor has been arrested for submitting an account for care that was not administered, or for over-billing for supplies and services. Imagine finding out that he or she falsified patient data to obtain a higher payments from medical schemes, or had been paid kickbacks to refer patients to a specific specialist or clinic.

SAs healthcare ranked 119 out of 195 countries

SA was ranked 119 out of 195 countries in the Healthcare Access and Quality Index published by medical journal Lancet on Friday.

July conference to look at pharmacists role in NHI

Pharmacists are gearing up to play a key role under National Heath Insurance (NHI) when SA enters the second phase of implementing the universal health coverage policy.

African leaders discuss healthcare innovation

Representatives from over 20 African countries met for the Innovation Effect conference at the Durban International Convention Centre where they discussed health innovations and research in Africa, as well as how to address major health issues facing the continent.

Debt cripples health services warns Gauteng MEC

The budget of the province’s health department grew from R37.6bn in 2016 to R40.2bn in 2017.

National Strategic Plan for HIV TB STIs

THE long-awaited National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, TB and STIs has finally been unveiled by the South African National Aids Council (SANAC), a body responsible for building consensus across government, civil society and all other stakeholders to drive an enhanced country response to HIV, TB and STIs. The NSP 2017 - 2022 serves as a roadmap for the next stage of a journey towards a future where these three diseases are no longer public health problems. The five-year plan sets out the destinations – or goals - of a shared journey and establishes landmarks in the form of specific measurable objectives. The purpose of the NSP is to enable the many thousands of organisations and individuals who drive the response to HIV, TB and STIs to act as a concerted force, moving in the same direction.

HIV patients aged 20 will see their 70s

A LANDMARK report reveals that patients diagnosed with HIV today can expect to live well into their mid-seventies. The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, highlights the progress made in treatment of the virus in the last three decades. As recently as the 1980s an HIV diagnosis was considered a death sentence because the virus invariably triggered the disease AIDS. However, effective antiretroviral drugs mean patients today often live as long as a healthy person. The study, led by experts at Bristol University, was greeted as marking “a tremendous medical achievement”.

Healthcare funders happy to talk

Director-general Precious Matsoso pleads with medical schemes and stakeholders to come up with innovative and inclusive ideas.

Netcare earnings likely to increase

Healthcare group  Netcare, with South African and UK operations,  released a trading update in which it informed its shareholders that it expects a rise in earning for the six months to end March.

Healthcare is becoming big business in Africa albeit slowly

THE Yaya Chemist in a smartish downtown Nairobi shopping centre is more than a place to pick up prescriptions or buy cough syrup, shampoo and mosquito spray. In one corner is a tiny consultation room, where customers can have simple tests performed and receive medical advice. It costs roughly 50c to have blood pressure checked, $2 for blood-sugar levels and $10 for cholesterol levels. In similar pharmacies across Africa, patients can access services from "nutritional consultations" to HIV and malaria tests.

Opportunity beckons in life sciences arena

South Africa should consider creating a special economic zone for health-care companies to improve its current $3.2-billion (R43.7bn) market share of the continent’s life sciences products industry. This is according to professional services firm Deloitte.

The right medicine to lift intra Africa trade

Adcock said a R470m state incentive had enabled it to expand its Germiston manufacturing facility’s capacity.

Sanofi pegs US drug price rises to below healthcare inflation

French drugmaker Sanofi has pledged to peg U.S. drug price rises to below healthcare inflation in a move that limits increases for any product this year to 5.4 percent, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Dieticians for diabetics an essential investment

New guidelines for treatment and prevention make the case for prioritising dieticians but there is little buy-in from government.

Women leading HIV prevention fight

In the small maternity ward of a run-down health clinic in Delft, a half-hour drive from Cape Town, the wooden benches in the waiting area are filled with young women and girls from the poor surrounding townships.

Codeine addiction is on the rise

Codeine addiction is on the rise‚ but SA lacks people who are specifically trained to treat it.

Generic meds could save SA millions

The word ‘generic’ may seem less appealing than the phrase “original brand”. However, if you’re ill, choosing generic medication over the original will save you money.

Fitter Aspen will still lick reputation wounds

THE Aspen share price is slowly digging itself out of the hole into which it fell after the price-gouging allegations hit the international headlines just more than a week ago. Given that ethical issues seem to matter to investors only when controversy sticks and that news about the out-of-patent cancer drug controversy has died down (for now), it’s likely the share price will recover much of its losses.

SA drug producers urge patients to demand generics

Generic medicines use could save on costs, says industry association.

World Health Organisation report dismissed because it failed to provide the underlying data

The Competition Commission’s health-market inquiry would not accept a controversial report on private hospital prices commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because it failed to provide the underlying data, it announced on Thursday.

2017 Global Medical Trend Rates

Aon Hewitt is pleased to present the results of its 2017 survey of average medical trend rates from countries around the world. The survey was conducted among Aon Hewitt offices that broker, administer, or otherwise advise on medical plans that are established and managed by employers in each of the 91 countries covered in this report. The survey responses reflect the medical trend expectations of the Aon professionals, clients, and carriers represented in the portfolio of Aon medical plan business in each country. The trend rates presented in this report do not include any allowances for potential employer countermeasures such as cost-containment plan amendments or the impact of any attendant employer negotiations with carriers.

1952 to 2017 Remembering a healthcare visionary

Dr Humphrey Zokufa was born in Somerset East, in the Eastern Cape, on the 25th October 1952. He attended Primary School in a village called kwaNojoli. He completed high school at Healdtown Comprehensive School, a Methodist school located near Fort Beaufort.

He obtained his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of the North in Limpopo and went on to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a Post-doctoral Fellowship from the University of Minnesota, St Paul Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, USA. He proceeded to complete a Diploma in Health Management from the University of Cape Town. Dr Zokufa was registered with the South African Pharmacy Council as a Pharmacist and as a specialist in Clinical Pharmacokinetics.