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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the Coronavirus pandemic a disaster and subsequently called for a national lockdown from midnight on Thursday. This after a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in the country, including local transmission. 

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"A public health crisis like this is the reason Aurum exists. Our mission is to save lives. This is the moment for us to step up and fulfil our mission. Let us stand up and be public health champions in the face of this global pandemic.” This was part of Group CEO Prof Gavin Churchyard’s video conference address to all Aurum staff, in the wake of the worsening global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Heeding Churchyard’s call, members of the executive management team visited clinics to meet and show solidarity with staff working in the frontlines of health service provision in Ekurhuleni.

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WHO: Considerations for tuberculosis (TB) care services. As the world comes together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that essential services and operations for dealing with long-standing health problems continue to protect the lives of people with TB and other diseases or health conditions. Health services, including national programmes to combat TB, need to be actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained.

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The advent of COVID-19, has changed our daily lives and created a heightened level of anxiety throughout the world, including right here in Africa.  In these times of uncertainty, Aurum needs to be guided by our values and by the principle of putting our people first, which is always the right thing to do.

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New study finds there is no need to repeat short-course TB preventive therapy after one year and finds that shorter regimen nearly doubles treatment completion rate. The WHIP3TB finds a single course of weekly rifapentine and isoniazid for three months (3HP) provides lasting protection against tuberculosis (TB) and does not need to be repeated year after year. The WHIP3TB trial, led by the Aurum Institute and partners, was presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI).

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A proposal for an international research project involving the Aurum Institute has been shortlisted for a $100 million grant.

The proposal by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) was one of the highest scoring, placing it in the Top 100 for the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change grant. The proposal is for the Remedi project, which aims to improve global health by Repurposing Essential Medicines Internationally (Remedi).

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No safety concerns found; NIH and partners discontinue vaccinations.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has stopped administration of vaccinations in its HVTN 702 clinical trial of an investigational HIV vaccine. This action was taken because an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) found during an interim review that the regimen did not prevent HIV. Importantly, the DSMB did not express any concern regarding participant safety.

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This article was published in Daily Maverick on 28 January 2020.

 

Geoff Setswe, a public health expert with global health impact organisation, The Aurum Institute, tells us that the NHI is no different to any other structural change implemented in the health system. However, implementing it in South Africa will be a challenge.

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