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Wits publishes first clinical data on COVID-19 in South Africa

- Wits University

Health professionals will face difficult ethical decisions when it comes to dealing with COVID-19 patients.

For example, do they resuscitate patients even though the prospects of recovery are slim and the risk to the healthcare team high? How should healthcare workers respond?

This is one of the topics covered in the COVID-19 Special Issue of the Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine. The journal, published by Wits University Press under open access conditions, presents the first clinical data on COVID-19 published in South Africa.

The special issue covers a range of aspects of the pandemic, from the clinical, through ethical, to the social dynamics of its impact.

Highlights include:

Editor-in-chief of the Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine Professor Pravin 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.” Manga is Professor of Internal Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits.

In addition to being a public resource, more than 10 articles in this issue aim to guide healthcare workers.  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.


*Covid-19 Resources for Academics and Students: Access the entire Wits University Press eBook collection in your university library through JSTOR and Proquest until 1 July 2020.