“It’s all about trust”: reflections of researchers on the complexity and controversy surrounding biobanking in South Africa

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:57
Authors: Keymanthri Moodley, Shenuka Singh
“Biobanks are precariously situated at the intersection of science, genetics, genomics, society, ethics, the law and politics. This multi-disciplinarity has given rise to a new discourse in health research involving diverse stakeholders. Each stakeholder is embedded in a unique context and articulates his/her biobanking activities differently. To researchers, biobanks carry enormous transformative potential in terms of advancing scientific discovery and knowledge. However, in the context of power asymmetries in Africa and a distrust in science born out of historical exploitation, researchers must balance the scientific imperative of collecting, storing and sharing high quality biological samples with obligations to donors/participants, communities, international collaborators, regulatory and ethics authorities.”
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Uganda: MPs Demand Enforcement of Anti-Smoking Law

The Monitor, 4 October 2016
Author: Ephraim Kasozi
“Uganda, Members of Parliament have asked the government to expedite the implementation of the anti-smoking law to regulate the demand and supply of tobacco and its products in a move to promote health of citizens and reduce tobacco related illness and deaths. The lawmakers also want government to develop tobacco control policies and regulations to ease the implementation of the Tobacco Control Act, 2015 passed a year ago.”
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How Kenyan and Tanzanian medicine producers deserve a shot in the arm

The Conversation, 28 September 2016
Authors: Samuel Wangwe, Maureen Mackintosh
“Despite major improvement in access to HIV/Aids and TB treatment most people living in Africa still lack access to reliable and appropriate medicines. They continue to struggle with the worst health status in the world. Why is this happening? What can be done? Unexpectedly, part of the explanation can be found in the state of Africa’s own pharmaceutical industry. Far too little is heard about the industry in debates about access to medicines. And it’s often said that Africa has no pharmaceutical industry. But this simply isn’t true.”
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Is it ethical to pay adolescents to take HIV treatment?

BMJ Blog, 20 September 2016
Authors: Rebecca Hope, Nir Eyal, Justin Healy, Jacqueline Bhabha
“With treatment, a child with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa can expect to live a healthy life. Better access to HIV treatment is contributing to a global decline in HIV deaths and new infections. Yet in adolescents, the mortality rate is rising – it increased by 30% between 2005-2012 – and HIV is now the leading cause of death among African adolescents. Globally, one in three adolescents with HIV do not take adequate therapy to suppress the HIV virus.”
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HIV-positive Ugandan women complain of forced sterilization in government hospitals

Reuters, 4 September 2016
Author: Yasin Kakande
“After the miscarriage, Ida tried for some years to get pregnant again. Eventually, she went to another hospital, where she was examined and told her fallopian tubes had been cut. Without her knowledge, she had been sterilized.”
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Poor prescription practices across Africa are putting patients at risk

The Conversation, 30 August 2016
Authors: Richard Ofori-Asenso, Allyson Pollock, Petra Brhlikova
“Irrational prescriptions are a major global health problem. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than half of all medicines are inappropriately prescribed, dispensed or sold. In addition, half of all patients fail to take them correctly. In Africa, where most countries have weak health systems and underdeveloped mechanisms for routine monitoring of medicines, this problem is common.”
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Zimbabwe doctors say insurers owe 220 mln dollars, will now take cash only

Reuters, 16 June 2016
Author: MacDonald Dzirutwe
“Doctors in Zimbabwe will no longer accept patients with medical insurance from July 1 due to insurers owing them $220 million, the main doctors’ association said on Thursday, leaving thousands to pay cash or rely on underfunded state hospitals. The southern African nation has more than 20 registered health insurers serving about 800,000 members, according to the Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ), which represents health insurance firms.”
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New WHO guidelines to improve care for millions living with female genital mutilation

WHO, 16 May 2016
Source: World Health Organization
“New WHO recommendations aim to help health workers provide better care to the more than 200 million girls and women worldwide living with female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation (FGM) describes all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has no health benefits, can cause grave harm, and violates the rights of girls and women. International migration has now made the practice, prevalent in 30 countries in Africa and in a few countries in Asia and the Middle East, a global health issue.”
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