Medical Innovation Bill – Central Drug Authority

Every time I visit the Houses of Parliament for the Portfolio of Health meetings, I am struck by how beautiful this venerable old building is.

I often think that if the walls could talk, they would reveal many secrets. This last week, however, I think the walls would have been shocked into silence to discover that the subject under discussion was marijuana. The purpose of the Medical Innovation Bill (MIB) is to make provision for the innovation of cannabinoids in medical treatment and to legalise its use for medical purposes, as well as for commercial and industrial use. Continue reading

Why does Women’s Day fail?

I attended a presentation by Professor Piet Naude, the director of the University of Stellenbosch Business School, and I was really interested in his take on Women’s Day.

In South Africa we celebrate our women on 9 August each year, but there is something inherently wrong with that. Continue reading

The journey of a Bill

At the August 5 Portfolio Committee of Health meeting the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill was considered and adopted.

A five-page document setting out the amendments that the Committee had earlier proposed and agreed to was tabled and the Committee approved all the amendments, and voted to accept the Bill as well. Continue reading

June 2015 – A good month of interesting meetings

This past month has been a good one for interesting meetings, and they combined two of my big passions: health and business.
Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Celynn Erasmus book launch – The F.A.B. Quotient- Fuel, Activate, Behave
  2. PPHF meeting on Health Innovation – Lentegeur Hospital

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Feedback to Portfolio of Health on Limpopo Health Situation

Reports on the public health sector in Limpopo have been depressing over the years. It seems that the people of this most rural of provinces are so often left out in the cold when it comes to service delivery, and this Cinderella status is particularly evident in the health sector. Continue reading

Cannabis debate at Portfolio of Health

There has been a lot of discussion in the news recently about the use of cannabis – or legal marijuana – as an alternative treatment for a number of medical conditions.

At the end of last month, the Portfolio Committee on Health heard submission from legal and medical researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and three clinicians. They were addressing issues raised by the Private Member’s Medical Innovation Bill.

The Bill – better known as the Dagga Bill – was originally tabled by IFP MP Mario Ambrosini, who died of cancer in August 2014. ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani tabled the motion to revive the Bill, partly because of the huge support for the Bill from the public. When Ambrosini was still alive, he announced that 1902 public submissions had been received Continue reading

Department of Health 2014-15 Fourth Quarter Expenditure

Yesterday Wednesday 10 June 2015, the portfolio heard feedback from the national department of health on its fourth quarter results and outcomes of the six programs it runs.

The DG, Precious Matsoso presented a compelling story that shows great improvements in delivery on all the programs. The only area that was disappointing was around NHI and its roll out. The DG explained that even though the white paper NHI is finalised, it can only be released concurrently with the Treasury paper on how the NHI will be financed and read together with the work streams on how the NHI will be implemented.

Continue reading