Editor-in-chief of the Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine , Emeritus Professor Pravin Manga

The University of the Witwatersrand has published a special journal containing the first clinical data on COVID-19 published in South Africa.

Compiled by the Editor-in-chief of the Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine , Emeritus Professor Pravin Manga, Professor of Internal Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits,  the COVID-19 Special Issue of the Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine includes articles on a host of issues pertaining to the pandemic in South Africa. The articles published by Wits University Press under open access conditions are aimed at guiding healthcare workers who are at the forefront of treating COVID-19 patients.

These address the ethical aspects related to the pandemic – which patients should healthcare workers admit to already-filled intensive care units and who decides this? Associate Professor Kevin Behrens, Director and Head of the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics discusses such ethical conundrums in his review.

Professor Laurel Baldwin-Ragaven in the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care presents a sobering overview of how some of South Africa’s vast social disparities may manifest during COVID-19 and outlines our clinical and social responsibilities.

Professor Charles Feldman in the Division of Pulmonology, Department of Internal Medicine at Wits interrogates the aggravating issue of South Africa’s additional burdens of HIV and tuberculosis and the risk of COVID-19 infection in HIV-positive patients.

Professor Ismail S. Kalla in Pulmonology in Internal Medicine and Professor Abdullah Laher in Emergency Medicine in the School of Clinical Medicine explore whether herd immunity offers possibilities as a strategy for fighting COVID-19 in South Africa.

This special issue includes a guide to worldwide Medical Resources on COVID-19, as well as a handy poster-style patient guide for healthcare workers.

Prof Manga says it is important for health professionals and the public to have access to scientific information: “Social media is awash with all sorts of quackery regarding prevention and treatment remedies for COVID-19 and it is during these times that we need to be rational and be guided by science rather than by emotion.”

“In a short space of time, COVID-19 has changed normal life in South Africa. Since the introduction of the lockdown, schools and universities have been empty, vast segments of the economy have been closed and, in many households, there are hushed conversations about our future. Social media is awash with all sorts of quackery regarding prevention and treatment remedies. These are difficult and somewhat scary times. It is during these times that we need to keep rationality and be guided by science rather than by emotion,” Prof Manga writes.

Highlights include:

Diagnosis of COVID-19: Considerations, controversies and challenges in South Africa

Social dimensions of COVID-19 in South Africa: A neglected element of the treatment plan

Clinical ethical challenges in the COVID-19 crisis in South Africa

Potential impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HIV-positive patients in South Africa

COVID-19: The concept of herd immunity – is it a strategy for South Africa?

To access the articles go tohttps://journals.co.za/content/journal/wjcm/browse

For enquiries contact Corina van der Spoel at Corina.vanderspoel@wits.ac.za