Apple’s smartwatch spurs wrist action

To observers of the secretive Swiss watch industry, its quiet, seemingly passive response to Apple’s plan to attack its centuries-old business could be mistaken for submission before an overwhelming adversary…..more


Health professionals council probed

HEALTH Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has launched an independent investigation of allegations against the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), including maladministration and fitness of its managers to lead it. The HPCSA is a statutory body established in terms of the Health Professions Act. Its responsibilities include dealing with complaints from the public about medical practitioners, and accreditation of doctors and training institutions. The minister has oversight of it…..more

Lawsuits blamed for medical crisis

HEALTH Minister Aaron Motsoaledi criticised personal injury lawyers on Monday, accusing them of creating a national crisis, with doctors scared of certain specialist areas due to the rising number of costly lawsuits. The government is faced with contingency liabilities amounting to R25bn for medical malpractice lawsuits, according to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, while doctors in the private sector are battling to keep up with steeply rising premiums for professional indemnity cover…..more and more

‘Cosy relationship’ raises health costs

Dominance by private hospital groups and their cosy relationships with specialist doctors and medical schemes, coupled with gaps in regulation and a lack of transparency, have been identified as the major causes of expensive private healthcare. A Competition Commission investigation into the healthcare industry has received 68 submissions. Most acknowledged that private healthcare inflation was higher than general inflation and that private healthcare costs were too high. Many differed on the reasons for this…..more

With All the New Classes of Drugs, Is Metformin Still the First Choice?

This observational cohort study sought to determine the effect of initial oral glucose-lowering class on subsequent need for additional anti-hyperglycemia therapy. Participants included 15,516 patients who were not previously treated for diabetes, in whom therapy with metformin, a sulfonylurea (SU), a thiazolidinedione (TZD), or a dipeptidyl peptidase 4-inihibitor (DPP4) was initiated. The primary outcome was time to treatment intensification, defined as initiation of a different class of oral glucose-lowering medication…..more

Lost patient cards compound long queues

Patients say that lost clinic cards add to already long waits at the hospital (File photo)

When a trip to the clinic already involves three queues, lost patient cards are the last thing you need. Thembinkosi Mabena recently went to collect his antiretrovirals (ARV) at the Eastern Cape’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lusikisiki. After eight hours and three queues, Mabena received his treatment but only after the hospital’s chief executive officer interceded on his behalf…..more

A systematic review of web-based educational interventions

A HIFA member has kindly emailed to me the full text of this restricted-access paper (demonstrating that the ability to access free full text is inequitable – it depends on one’s contacts). Below are some key points from the full text:

1. A total of 19 studies met the selection criteria and were included in the systematic review. It was not clear where the studies were conducted. The focus was on patients recovering from heart surgery, such as corinary artery bypass graft and valve surgery.

2. Generally, the control group received a structured educational brochure, while most of the interventions comprised ‘a structured web-based patient education  intervention that consisted of pre-designed screens. This type of web-based education required the study participant to review each screen, in sequential order, prior to moving to the next educational screen. The content areas addressed throughout the structured web-based education were similar to those presented in the education brochure received by the control group study participants. … more than half (60%) of the websites contained information related to additional resources and references, 40% provided their study participants with access to an ask an expert chat forum, 30% created online discussion groups, and approximately 10% had an online skills workshop that could be accessed upon review of the education’.

3. ‘A statistically significant difference [in self care behaviour] between individuals who received the web-based intervention and those who received standard

patient education (i.e., structured educational brochure) in terms of number of self-care behaviors performed during post-discharge recovery is noted’ [see full paper for details, which vary according to study]

4. The findings suggest: ‘using an individualized web-based patient education intervention may be more effective than a booklet or standardized patient education website’ and ‘the most effective form of web-based patient education is one that is interactive and allows patients to navigate the online system on their own’.

Perhaps the most important conclusion (which is captured in the Abstract) is that ‘the most effective form of web-based patient education is one that is interactive and allows patients to navigate the online system on their own’. This suggests that the way in which content is developed and presented is critical. As we have discussed before on HIFA, the challenge of the coming decade is likely to shift from access to content. The development of reliable, appropriate and effective content (where possible open-access) and helping people to find it will be key to the realisation of healthcare information for all. It’s vital that global health funders recognise this and support it accordingly, both to sieze the opportunity and to mitigate the negative impact of commercial advertising (big pharma already spends 373 million US dollars per year worldwide on mobile phone advertising).

Best wishes, Neil

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA:

Hesperian Health Guides releases “Health Actions for Women”

Hesperian Health Guides has just released our much anticipated title, Health Actions for Women: Practical Strategies to Mobilize for Change.  This companion resource to Where Women Have No Doctor was field tested in 23 countries and provides a wealth of clearly explained and engagingly illustrated activities, strategies, and stories that address the social obstacles and practices that prevent women and girls from enjoying health lives.

This book strengthens efforts to:

-challenge violence against women

-improve access to family planning

-foster safe motherhood

-counteract the harmful effects of restrictive gender roles

-promote strategies for achieving better sexual health

-ensure that health services meet the needs of women and girls

Anyone who works, organizes, teaches, or even thinks about women’s health and equality will find accessible, actionable tools in Health Actions for Women. Whether you live and work in the US or overseas, this resource is a “must have” for your outreach and training work.

Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called Health Actions “A triumph!” saying that no other resource today provides such concrete tools to engage and empower women of all ages to build lasting change.

Dr. Paul Farmer, Co-Founder of Partners in Health, wrote to say that tools like Health Actions for Women bolster communities’ efforts to provide care to those whose voices have for too long gone unheard.

And Nobel Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum shared this endorsement: “Using this book, we can create enduring change by starting from the experiences of women, by respecting our knowledge, cultures, and traditions, and by bringing our stories to the fore as we work toward a brighter, more just future.”

Please explore this new resource on our website here: , share the news with your networks, and don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about how this resource can support the work of your organization.

Thanks for supporting Health for all!

Libby Engles

Media and Communications Associate

E-learning tools: Moodle vs. Yahoo! Groups

I teach some courses online using Moodle and some using Yahoo! Groups.   I think Yahoo! Groups is much easier to use, partly because it has   fewer fancy features. You can learn about Yahoo! Groups at When I use Yahoo! Groups I also use skype for on-line keyboard chats.   The skype software can be downloaded free from Skype also provides voice communication and video communication.

Aloha, George

HIFA2015 profile: George Kent is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii. kent AT

Distance learning material in Portuguese

I am sending you a link to the BIBLIOTECA MULTIMIDIA (multimedia library) from FIOCRUZ (A research institute from Brazil) that gives FREE ACCESS to power point presentations, videos, information material in various formats in several areas of knowledge. In Portuguese, of course… But it is worth it for those who can speak the language.


Dr Regina Ungerer – MD/MsC

ePORTUGUÊSe – Project Manager


Tel. direct: +41 22 791 3069

FAX:             + 41 22 7914806


World Health Organization

20, avenue Appia

CH-1211 Geneva 27

Tel: +41 22 791 2111

Fax: +41 22 791 3111

Visit WHO at:

Transform 2015 Research Colloquium Keynotes and Registration

We are very excited to announce three very exciting keynotes and to open free online registration [ ] for the Transform 2015 Research Colloquium [ ] . Transform 2015, with the theme of  “Transforming Pedagogical Practices in African Higher Education with blended and online learning” will be held online from 6-10 April 2015. Transform 2015 is a collaboration between The African Virtual University, the e/merge Africa network and the Educational Technology Inquiry Lab at University of Cape Town.

Transform 2015 will facilitate live and asynchronous encounters with some of the most interesting work by emerging and established educational technology researchers in and from Africa. We are planning for up to 20 peer reviewed and invited presentations including three three keynotes from highly respected researchers:

Associate Professor Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams from the ROER4D Project, based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa will present on Open Educational Resources and Pedagogical Practices in African Higher Education: A perspective from the ROER4D Project.

Associate Professor Wanjira Kinuthia from Georgia State University, United States will present a keynote entitled Learning Design for Personal Learning Environments: Engaging Emerging Technologies to Transform Online and Blended Instruction in African Higher Education

Associate Professor Dick Ng’ambi heads the ETI-Lab at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.  His keynote is Why higher education in Africa produces square pegs for round holes: a call for innovative approaches.

You are invited to join Transform 2015 to connect with colleagues across Africa and the world in learning about some of the latest e-learning research findings from our continent and about how we can become more effective researchers.

Best Wishes,

The Transform 2015 Team

Contact Details