Maverick Citizen

CORONAVIRUS WEEKLY DIGEST #23

Civil society calls for Budget to be rejected, ivermectin fares poorly against Covid-19 and nurse shares what it’s like to vaccinate the president

Civil society calls for Budget to be rejected, ivermectin fares poorly against Covid-19 and nurse shares what it’s like to vaccinate the president
Compilation image by Sahra Heuwel.

This week, civil society issued a strong call for the 2021 Budget to be rejected by Parliament. Researchers discovered that ivermectin does not significantly impact mild Covid-19 symptoms, while a study in Cape Town monitors wastewater for the virus to predict the next surge. And the nurse who vaccinated the president shares her passion for nursing.

Over 200 social movements, trade unions and civil society organisations have endorsed an open letter calling for members of Parliament to reject the 2021 Budget. 

The current Budget will cut public spending by R265-billion over the next three years, which will directly affect human rights at a time of acute crisis, they argue. The organisations represent 1.5 million people. Read the open letter here.

Maternal deaths increase during lockdown

There was a 30% rise in maternal deaths during lockdown in South Africa compared to the same time in 2019, according to reproductive health experts.

A lack of transport, hospital beds and human resources caused fatal delays in patients receiving treatment. The department of health acknowledges that maternal health services were affected by lockdown, but said this improved as lockdown eased, reports Tiyese Jeranji. 

Study shows ivermectin has marginal impact on mild Covid-19

Ivermectin does not significantly improve symptoms of mild Covid-19, concludes the first substantial peer-reviewed clinical trial on the matter. The researchers argue that not even a higher dose of the anti-parasitic drug would make a difference. 

As Elsabé Brits reports, there are four cases against the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to approve ivermectin as a treatment of Covid-19.

Cape Town monitors wastewater treatment stations to detect infection increase

Cape Town’s waste treatment plants are being checked for Covid-19 after a study done last year detected the virus across five treatment stations. The Covid-19 levels in the waste corresponded with the number of Covid-19 cases in the area. The task now is to understand whether or not this method can predict an increase in community transmission, writes Michael Cherry.

Informal traders have been excluded from Covid-19 relief

Informal traders – especially women working in the sector – have lost jobs, working hours, income and childcare during the Covid-19 lockdown, says UN Women and Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising. 

In South Africa, informal workers need easier and longer access to grants and should be included in the vaccine rollout. The two organisations have launched an initiative called Coping in Crisis: Informal Workers’ Lives and Livelihoods during Covid-19. Read the stories of informal traders here.

Read more: Covid-19 presents an opportunity to address issues affecting women, says Unisa vice-chancellor.

What it’s like to vaccinate a president

When nursing sister Milanie Bennett was asked to vaccinate the president of South Africa, she at first refused, thinking she wasn’t brave enough. She decided that: “I’ve done the training. I feel confident and competent in my job and would see him as just any other patient I am giving an injection.” 

Her nursing journey started in rural Western Cape and took her around the world. Biénne Huisman spoke to her about her journey and what it was like to vaccinate a president. DM/MC

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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