COVID-19 child vaccinations: Promoting children’s right to equality, education, food and health

The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt throughout the world. With the constantly mutating virus and the Omicron variant now upon us, the vaccine is the only path to obtain a semblance of normality. Following the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA)’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine for use in children between the ages of 12 and 17 years, the Minister of Health announced the National Department of Health (NDoH)’s decision to roll out the vaccine to this age cohort. Despite calls from scientists, the World Health Organization and the state, there is still resistance in some quarters to the roll-out of vaccines to children. The organised resistance includes an internal appeal against SAHPRA’s decision to approve the use of the vaccine between children of this age group, and an urgent court application to prevent the NDoH’s roll-out of the vaccine to this age cohort.

Midwives’ ethical practice in selected labour units in Tshwane, Gauteng Province, South Africa

Recently, South Africa (SA) has experienced several serious adverse events in labour units, which have often led to litigation by the SA Nursing Council (SANC). In 2011, the Minister of Health released the number of lawsuits already paid by the various provincial departments of health, amounting to ZAR1.7 billion in the past 7 years, related to gynaecology, midwifery and surgical procedures, of which ZAR100 million was for the Gauteng Department of Health. All these lawsuits were related to obstetric malpractice, as stated in City Press. Furthermore, in 2014, the Sunday Times of 17 January released a statement that revealed that the Gauteng Department of Health had received 306 negligence claims totalling ZAR1 286 billion, of which 155 claims were for childbirth.

The role of Data Transfer Agreements in ethically managing data sharing for research in South Africa

Data sharing and open science is emerging as an important feature in collaborative research, particularly data-intensive research methods. It has been credited with producing more reproducible science, maximising the use of an important resource, encouraging innovation, and holding great potential for the improvement of patient-centred care.  The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of the rapid transfer of samples and data in expediting research towards treatment, diagnoses, prevention and understanding the spread of disease. Unsurprisingly, this has led to calls for sample and data sharing to apply to general research, outside of pandemics. In this context, South Africa (SA) is making strides towards developing policies which promote open science, with both the Draft National Open Science Policy and the Draft National Data and Cloud Policy promoting open data sharing in line with international best practice. However, it is essential that any such data sharing and open science initiatives are in line with SA’s robust legal and ethical framework for research.

Legal reflections on the doctor-patient relationship in preparation for South Africa’s National Health Insurance

Recent legislative developments in South Africa (SA) have led to a different understanding of the traditional doctor-patient relationship. These changes include the introduction of new remedies for patients over and above those conventionally sought for compensation in response to professional medical negligence, rooted in the law of delict and contract law. The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill,[1] a recent addition to the regulation of health in SA, aims to give effect to section 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution), which provides that ‘everyone has the right to have access to healthcare services.’ The objective of achieving universal access to healthcare services for all South Africans was launched in 2012, and is estimated to be completed by 2026.[2] The implementation of the NHI will bring about significant changes to the current healthcare context in SA that consists of the two-tiered system of a public and a private healthcare system.


Health Professions Council of South Africa


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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - May 2022 Vol 15 No 1