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.


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.


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.


Angola's health coverage in the wake of a presidential election

Angola's economy has been devastated by a global collapse in oil prices and the country's health sector is suffering as a result, with widespread shortages of critical medicines and supplies. The health system had experienced uneven development in the wake of a decades-long civil war that ended in 2002, but the government and its partners had made advances in improving access to health services and reducing the spread of communicable diseases. Those accomplishments are now at risk. Read more.


President of Zambia declares HIV testing mandatory

Zambia is moving forward with mandatory HIV testing for all patients who visit government health facilities, according to Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya. The move appears to contradict WHO recommendations against mandatory or coerced testing. And it has sparked an outcry among international and local HIV activists, who are pushing the government to reverse its decision. Read more.