South Africa unveils healthcare overhaul

South Africa's health minister presented two bills last week that would substantially overhaul the country's health-care system in a bid to move the country closer to universal health coverage. Under the new scheme, all accredited health facilities, whether public or private, will be required to provide a package of services at a price set by the government. The legislation would also abolish copayments to health insurance companies and set up a cross-subsidization system to ease access to coverage. Read more.

Scarcity of data protection laws in Africa leaves NGOs exposed

In late 2017, Ugandan police raided the offices of three NGOs the government had accused of conducting illicit financial transactions and working to destabilize the country.
Inside the building, officers demanded that staff provide passwords to computers and cell phones. Outside, civil society representatives gathered. By the time they were allowed inside, it was too late. The police had stripped the office of whatever data they could find.

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Lessons learned from Congolese Ebola outbreak

The quick response of the Congolese government and international partners to the outbreak of Ebola included enhancing surveillance in the affected areas, establishing case management facilities and mobile laboratories, and beginning the process of tracing every person who might have come into contact with a patient with the virus. Experts said this was a marked difference from the situation in March, 2014, when cases of Ebola virus disease were first reported in Guinea. Read more.

Renewed tensions between Uganda and Rwanda will ripple across East Africa

Ties between Rwanda and Uganda appear to be deteriorating rapidly. The latest ebb in this historically volatile relationship stems from the Ugandan government’s pushback on what it perceives as Rwandan meddling in its domestic affairs. Though Ugandan officials have not gone public with any formal allegations, their dissatisfaction can be read in a recent string of increasingly high-profile incidents. Read more.

Reconstructing Zimbabwe's health system after Mugabe

For more than a decade, Zimbabwe's healthcare system has been in a state of collapse. Hospitals have been without basic supplies, and health workers regularly strike over unpaid wages and poor working conditions. With Robert Mugabe forced out of the presidency in November after 37 years in power, there are now crucial questions about how quickly the new administration can turn the health system around – or whether it will. Read more.