Marcus Low

South Africa: How do we make an HIV and TB plan that has greater impact?

There is good reason to be sceptical about the link between healthcare policy and implementation in South Africa. Policies such as those on mental health and palliative care, for example, may be good on paper but have generally gone unimplemented. The Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry is arguably one of the most impressive and thorough investigations into a set of healthcare issues in recent years but most of the HMI report’s recommendations are gathering dust.

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Why the new WHO COVID-19 therapeutic trial is a step in the right direction

Finding out which medicines work and which ones do not work can be a tricky business – especially if you are under severe time pressure. The ideal is to compare different options in large randomised controlled trials (RCTs), preferably trials where neither the study participants or healthcare workers know who is getting which treatment.

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Analysis: Not all good news in new WHO MDR-TB recommendations

In a move that could help save the hearing of thousands of people with TB, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising wider use of newer and repurposed drugs, bedaquiline and linezolid in place of injections that cause deafness. Rather perplexingly, the WHO is however also maintaining its recommendation for a shorter and cheaper, but much less impressive treatment regimen and advised that the new South African regimen should only be used under conditions of operational research.

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Moment of truth for global TB response

Marcus Low's reflections on the Global Ministerial Conference on TB held on 16-17 November 2017 in Moscow, Russia.

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South Africa: How a patent is blocking access to a life-saving TB medicine

Médecins Sans Frontières would like to treat 300 drug resistant TB patients in Khayelitsha with linezolid, but can only afford to buy the drug for little more than 20 patients.

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