Health Ministry


Japan's teenage smokers face wrinkle test

Staff Reporter

Teenage smokers in Japan could soon be taking their last illicit puffs thanks to the introduction of cigarette-vending machines that can spot underage customers just by looking at them. The machines are equipped with a digital camera that can compare users' facial characteristics with a database of more than 100 000 people.

Trade union to launch own medical fund

Staff Reporter

Trade union Solidarity is introducing its own medical fund in a move against what it called "high medical rates", it said on Wednesday. "It's a non-profit service. We don't want to make millions out of the sick, but make private healthcare more accessible to the people of South Africa," said Jaco Kleynhans, Solidarity spokesperson.

'Confident' China rules out post-quake epidemics

Lindsay Beck

Chinese medical teams have fanned out across the earthquake zone, disinfecting makeshift camps and educating survivors, and on Monday the Health Ministry said it could guarantee there would be no epidemics. Where bodies could not be cremated, they had been been buried deep underground and far from water sources to prevent contamination

China steps up fight to stave off disease

Peter Harmsen

China stepped up the fight on Thursday to stave off disease among over five million earthquake homeless as it tried to boost morale with plans to bring the Olympic flame through the disaster zone. Ten days after the quake, China was faced with the challenge of how to reconstruct shattered communities after more than 74 000 people were confirmed dead or missing.

Strong quake hits near Indonesia's Aceh

Staff Reporter

A magnitude-7,5 earthquake struck Indonesia's Aceh province on Wednesday, killing at least three people, injuring several and sending thousands fleeing their homes and offices in panic, officials and local media said. The quake struck the province that bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

'Memo to self: do not visit Jakarta in rainy season'

Ade Mardiyati

Heavy rains and high tides have caused chaos in Indonesia's capital for three days, highlighting its ailing infrastructure as roads to the airport became impassable and thousands had to abandon their homes or cars. The flooding also led to flight delays elsewhere in South-East Asia.

Train stampedes in China's winter hell

Stephanie Wong

Millions of Chinese workers battled for a precious train ticket home on Sunday as authorities struggled to keep order here following a stampede for seats that left a woman trampled to death. Savage winter snows and freezing temperatures that have brought much of the nation to a standstill.

Indonesia floods kill 12, cause travel chaos

Mita Valina Liem

Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 12 people across Indonesia and the capital's main airport was briefly shut on Friday as more than 40 flights were delayed due to low visibility. Scores of cars were stranded and people had to wade through murky knee-high water in many parts of Jakarta.

Indonesia reports 97th bird-flu death

Staff Reporter

An eight-year-old Indonesian boy has died of bird flu, the Health Ministry said on Friday, bringing the toll to 97 in the nation worst hit by the H5N1 virus. The boy was the seventh person from the Jakarta satellite city of Tangerang to die of the disease since October. He died at 4am local time in a Jakarta hospital, the ministry's bird-flu centre said.

Ebola eradicated in Uganda

Godfrey Olukya

Uganda is officially free of the deadly Ebola virus, which killed 37 people in the East African country last year, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. Forty-two days passed with no new infections -- long enough to be sure that there were no cases still in the incubation stage, said the country's Health Minister, Dr Steven Malinga.

Malawi seeks to oust fake Aids healers

Staff Reporter

Malawi lawmakers on Tuesday began examining draft legislation aimed at ridding the HIV/Aids-plagued country of quacks claiming to cure the pandemic through such remedies as sex with virgins, health authorities said. "When it passes into law, all traditional healers claiming to cure Aids will be dealt with," Mary Shaba, head of HIV/Aids issues for Malawi's Health Ministry, said.

Riots force Mozambique to scrap bus-fare hike

Staff Reporter

The Mozambican government announced on Wednesday that it was scrapping a planned increase in bus fares as the death toll from riots sparked by the price hikes rose to three. Calm had returned to the streets of Maputo on Thursday after the riots, which residents said were the most serious since 1975.

Manto may be in contempt of court, says Public Protector

Staff Reporter

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang may be guilty of contempt of court for criticising a ruling that allowed the Sunday Times to comment on her health records, the Public Protector said on Wednesday. The Public Protector made this finding while investigating a complaint of misappropriation of funds against the Health Ministry.

Govt to curb private healthcare costs

Staff Reporter

The government is to intervene to curb rocketing private healthcare costs and prevent the sector's "demise", Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said on Tuesday. The health charter task team, among others, has been discussing the challenge of making healthcare more affordable, she told the National Assembly's health committee.

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