Breast cancer still tops the list of cancers impacting South African women

No Comments »Written on February 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Life, Medical, News

Breast cancer still tops the list of cancers impacting South African women

Almost one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some stage of their lives, making it the most common cancer to impact women in South Africa.

Despite the high prevalence of breast cancer, the causes of the disease are still unknown. However, research has brought several risk factors to the fore, which may increase an individual’s chances of getting the disease.

Risk factors for breast cancer

  • Being over the age of 50 years
  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Personal or family history of cancer, including breast cancer
  • Early menstruation or late menopause
  • Lifestyle factors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, being overweight and a lack of physical exercise

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

The warning signs for breast cancer may differ from person to person. Some individuals do not have any signs or symptoms at all, which is why it is imperative that you make an appointment for a routine mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast, and one of the best methods to detect breast cancer early on when it is easier to treat and the success rate is higher.

Sometimes an ultrasound or sonar scan of the breast is also needed, particularly in younger women whose breasts are more dense than older women whose breasts are more fatty. A sonar scan uses sound waves to create a picture of the tissues inside the breast. This scan is often used to check abnormal results from a mammogram. However, the first indication of breast cancer is usually a lump in the breast or under the armpit.

The following are other signs and symptoms:

  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast or armpit
  • Puckering (wrinkling) of the skin of the breast
  • The sudden development of a retracted nipple
  • A change in the skin around the nipple, such as redness, flaking or irritation
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast, including the nipple
  • An enlargement of the glands under the armpit
  • One breast being lower than the other

Bear in mind that some of these warning signs are also symptoms of other conditions and may not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer. It is, however, advisable to make an appointment for a mammogram if you are concerned that you may have the disease.

Treating breast cancer

The first step in the management of a breast lump is a biopsy, which is the removal of a sample of tissue or cells to be examined by a pathologist to discover the presence, cause, or extent of a disease. If breast cancer is diagnosed, treatment is then tailored to the type of cancer and the patient’s wishes. Treatment can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and, in some cases, hormone or biological therapies. The type of surgery needed depends on the type of breast cancer you have.

Surgery is usually followed by chemotherapy, which involves the use of toxic drugs to kill cancer cells. This type of treatment is systemic, meaning it impacts the entire body and even damages healthy cells, which fortunately have the ability to repair. This is why there are often many side-effects such as hair loss, nail discolouration, skin irritation and nausea associated with this type of treatment.

Radiotherapy is another treatment option that uses powerful X-rays to destroy cancer cells specifically in the area that is impacted. “In some cases, hormone or biological treatments are also required. Again, the treatment you need depends on the type of breast cancer you have.

Prevention of breast cancer

Netcare911 advises all women to quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake, and maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. New mothers should choose to breastfeed if possible, as research suggests that breastfeeding decreases the risk of getting breast cancer. Speak to your doctor about limiting your dose and duration of hormone therapy and avoid exposure to environmental pollution. And lastly, we want to encourage women to go for routine mammograms because it really is one of the best ways to detect the disease early on when it is easier to treat.

New vehicle price inflation in SA continues to slow into 2016

New vehicle price inflation in SA continues to slow into 2016

With the substantial weakness in the currency and the pressure of household debt, the latest Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) report released by TransUnion reveals that new vehicle price inflation in South Africa continued to slow in the fourth quarter of 2015, as economic pressure weighed heavily on the pockets of both consumers and businesses.

The vehicle financial registration data analysed by TransUnion shows the ratio of new to used vehicles financed has marginally reduced from 1.76 (that is one new vehicle to every 1.76 used vehicles financed) to 1.74 on a year-on-year basis.

Data from WesBank, the market leader in vehicle and asset finance, also shows that demand for used cars is growing faster than demand for new cars. Finance application volumes for new vehicles grew six per cent, in 2015. Used vehicle finance applications grew eight per cent during the same period. During 2015 used car finance applications outnumbered new car applications two-to-one.

While the overall CPI increased from 4.37% in Q3 to 4.6% in Q4 of 2015, new car inflation softened from 6.58% in Q3 to 6.18% in Q4; reducing from 7.18% in Q4 2014 to 6.18% in Q4 2015. Used car price inflation increased marginally during the period from 1.44 in Q3% to 1.47 in Q4.

“Macro-economic factors contributed to a fall in domestic vehicle sales of 4.1% during 2015. New vehicles are showing a further slowdown in price increases in Q4, a direct result of struggling sales volumes of new vehicles and a stressed economy,” says Derick de Vries, CEO, Auto Information Solutions at TransUnion.

De Vries says that although new vehicle sales are under pressure resulting in an oversupply of stock in the market, sales volumes on new vehicles financed in Q4 2015 is on par with Q4 2014. However, manufacturers will be under more pressure to pass on price increases to consumers in 2016 due to the substantial weakness in the currency.” The slowing down of marketing incentives from manufacturers in 2016 combined with a weakening Rand will continue to strain sales volumes and lead to difficulty in the market.

Rudolf Mahoney, Head of Brand and Communications at WesBank, says that manufacturers are in a precarious position. “New vehicle prices need to be adjusted for the depreciating Rand and marketing incentives are required to maintain sales levels, but manufacturers can’t price themselves out of the market”.

De Vries adds that with continued pressure on consumer’s disposable income, the 2.25% increase in interest rates over the last 24 months and economic uncertainty, consumers are and will continue to hold back on replacing their vehicles. “TransUnion notes that consumers are settling for a used vehicle which offers the same luxury of a new vehicle. Consumers are still spoiled for choice however, affordability is playing a bigger role in their buying decisions.”

Mahoney points out that many consumers rely on long-term finance agreements to lower their instalments, but rely on trade-in assistance programmes to trade their vehicles in sooner. “Average contract periods are at the 69-month mark, but consumers tend to trade in at roughly 37 months into their contracts, nine months before the breakeven point is reached. If manufacturers cut back on marketing programmes then these consumers will have to hold onto their vehicles, which keeps them out of the market for longer.”

De Vries concludes that the struggling Rand and lower consumer confidence could see a decline of up to 8% in new vehicle sales during 2016. “Dealers are feeling the impact of the currency weakness and will have to ensure that they increase revenue in other areas of their business to support sales revenue whilst containing costs within their business. Furthermore, manufacturers will be faced with depressed sales volumes together with further currency weaknesses, which will result in increased prices into 2016.

Mazda Motor Corporation extends the Airbag Recall Campaign on certain Mazda6 and Mazda RX-8 vehicles

No Comments »Written on February 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Life, News, Vehicle

Mazda Motor Corporation extends the Airbag Recall Campaign on certain Mazda6 and Mazda RX-8

Mazda has announced a formal global recall covering a wider manufacturing period in order to place the highest priority on the safety of Mazda customers. This recall follows investigative recalls by Mazda in Japan and North America for three different types of Takata Corporation manufactured inflators and although no cases of abnormal deployment or dangerous flaws have been found in any Mazda vehicles in the course of the investigative recall; the concern had deemed an extended formal recall campaign necessary.

To date it has been recorded that an estimated 8000 units are affected in South Africa. Affected units are Mazda6 and RX-8 vehicles produced from 2003 to 2007 with VIN numbers starting with JM6GG or JMZSE. These include Mazda6 and Mazda RX-8 vehicles equipped with the "PSDI-4" driver-side air bag inflator, the "SDI-160" driver side air bag inflator, or the "SPI" passenger-side air bag inflator.

The recall is due to an inappropriate production condition and storage of the propellant in the inflator. The density of the propellant may be insufficient on the inflator for the passenger-sideairbag. This might cause the propellant to ignite abnormally at the time of airbag deployment and potentially result in extremely high inner pressure of the inflator causing a rupture of the inflator case.  In a case of a rupture, the airbag might not deploy as designed and may lead to passenger injury.

Mazda Southern Africa will conduct a repair procedure to replace the driver-side air bag and passenger-side air bag inflator with an improved unit on the possibly affected vehicles.

Although the number of affected vehicles will be subject to further review and may change, Mazda SA urges all owners with possibly affected Mazda6 and Mazda RX-8 vehicles to contact the Mazda SA Dealer Network or the Mazda SA Customer Care Centre on 0860 069 700 or email

Absa commentary on the January 2016 NAAMSA New Vehicle Sales and Exports Report.

CaptureVehicle Sales and Exports

  • A total of 48 615 new vehicles were sold in the South African market in January 2016, which were 552 units and 1.1% less than total sales volumes in December last year. Sales were down by 3 613 units in January compared to a year ago, resulting in a decline of 6.9% year-on-year (y/y).
  • Of total industry sales of 48 615 units in January, 75% represented dealer sales, 18.4% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4.4% of sales were to corporate fleets and 2.2% represented sales to the government.
  • Passenger car sales amounted to 34 936 units (71.9% of total vehicle sales) in January, which were 6.1% less than in January last year, but 5.8% higher than in December. Commercial vehicle sales were down by 8.9% y/y in January, with light commercial vehicles sales (24.8% of total vehicle sales) declining by 8.3% y/y and 11.9% month-on-month (m/m) to a total of 12 074 units.
  • The overall daily sales rate came to 2 431 units in January compared with 2 341 units in December.
  • New vehicle exports dropped sharply by 21.9% y/y and 25.2% m/m to a total of 13 057 units in January.

Vehicle Finance

  • Vehicles are currently mostly financed over a 72-month period with used vehicles only marginally impacting the average financing term. The main driver of this remains affordability, but it has the downside of an ever-increasing average contract period, which continues to lengthen the vehicle replacement cycle.
  • The ratio of used to new cars financed was 1.64 at the end of December last year. A total of 25 286 used vehicles were financed in December, with the number of new vehicles financed at 15 465. The total number of vehicles financed in 2015 came to 474 550 (491 569 in 2014), of which 300 101 were used (308 267 used vehicles financed in 2014) and 174 449 were new (183 302 new vehicles financed in 2014), with a used-to-new ratio of 1.72 last year compared with a ratio of 1.68 in 2014.
  • Comments and statistics on applications received and electronically scored by Absa in January.
  • Absa experienced a decrease in the number of applications received and a decrease in the approval rate.
  • Applications received and scored with a 72 month finance term = 90%
  • Applications received and scored with balloon payments = 28%

Industry Outlook

  • New vehicle sales volumes are forecast to be significantly lower in 2016 compared with the almost 618 000 units sold in 2015. The most important factors that will affect new vehicle sales this year include economic growth, interest rates, household and business financial conditions, and levels of confidence. NAAMSA expects passenger car sales to be down by 9% in 2016, with new commercial vehicles sales forecast to be down by between 3% and 5%.
  • Entry-level passenger cars, new model releases and manufacturer incentives will continue to be the main contributors to new vehicle sales volumes for the rest of the year.
  • NAAMSA expects new vehicle exports to grow by about 12% to approximately 375 000 units in 2016. Exports will be driven by global economic growth and manufacturers’ export programs. An expected weaker rand exchange rate towards year-end will give further support to vehicle export competitiveness.
  • As a result of inflationary pressures, interest rates are forecast to rise further over the next 12-18 months, which will affect the affordability of and the demand for and growth in vehicle finance.

Consumer Outlook

  • Consumers are expected to face increased financial strain in 2016 and 2017 on the back of rising inflation and interest rates. Credit-risk profiles are to stay under pressure and will remain a key factor in the accessibility of credit. Access to credit is an important factor in the vehicle market in view of a persistent severe lack of savings.
  • Consumers continue to struggle in obtaining and affording credit for higher-priced vehicles, with the demand for favourably priced entry-level vehicles and good-quality used vehicles remaining strong.

Factors Impacting the Vehicle Sector

  • Vehicle prices (exchange rate, taxes, input costs): New vehicle price inflation set to remain under upward pressure due to expected further rand weakness in 2016-17.
  • Household finances (household income, employment, inflation, ratio of household debt to disposable income and consumer credit-risk profiles), business sector performance and consumer and business confidence: Household finances remain finely balanced with debt levels still high and the percentage of credit-active consumers having impaired credit records remaining on a gradual rising trend. Consumer and business confidence remains low against the background of economic developments.
  • Vehicle finance (interest rates, banks’ risk appetite and lending criteria, legislation and regulation): The demand for and affordability and accessibility of vehicle finance, largely driven by interest rate movements, customer credit-risk profiles and consumer and business confidence, will remain important to the performance of vehicle sales.
  • Transport costs (fuel prices and maintenance costs): Fuel prices and vehicle maintenance costs drive transport costs and consumer price inflation, impacting consumer and business spending power.
  • Economic performance and vehicle demand and supply (global and domestic economic growth, exports and workforce stability): Global and domestic economic growth will drive domestic vehicle sales and exports, which will be supported by manufacturers’ export programs, with labour market trends and developments impacting vehicle production and export volumes. Vehicle export competitiveness will benefit from a depreciating exchange rate.


Awareness is crucial in the fight against prostate cancer

No Comments »Written on February 1st, 2016 by
Categories: Disability, Life, Medical

Awareness is crucial in the fight against prostate cancer

While prostate cancer does not receive the kind of public attention that some other forms of cancer do, it nevertheless impacts tens of thousands of South African families of all races every year.

No fewer than one in 23 South African men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives and it is important that the battle against this disease continues.

Widespread and regular screening, early detection and improved treatment are allowing more and more men to survive prostate cancer. If the cancer is diagnosed early, while it is localised or still confined to the prostate gland itself, the five-year survival rate is almost 100%. It is therefore of critical importance that we improve awareness of this disease.

The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system, producing fluid that is part of male semen. Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in the prostate gland. If left untreated, aggressive forms of this cancer may metastasise, or spread to other organs in the body, and become life threatening.

It is important to note that patients with prostate cancer often experience no symptoms whatsoever. For this reason Netcare911 recommends that men over the age of 45 have annual screenings, so that signs of prostate cancer can be detected as early as possible.

If the symptoms do occur they may include the following:

  • Blood in urine
  • Trouble urinating
  • Sudden or urgent need to urinate
  • Waking frequently at night to urinate
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urine flow
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow
  • Pain during urination
  • Difficulty having an erection and/or painful ejaculations
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back
  • Unexplained weight loss

“There are a number of risk factors for prostate cancer, and it is important to note that men of all ages and races may develop the disease. However, advancing age is a particularly important risk factor, with older individuals having a much greater chance of developing the disease”.

Treatment options for prostate cancer include radical prostatectomy — which is the complete surgical removal of the prostate — radiation, cryotherapy, brachytherapy, and hormone therapy.

What everyone should know about prostate cancer

  • According to National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) and National Cancer Registry and Research, prostate cancer is the most common cancer to occur in black South African men and the second most common cancer in white men. More than 4,300 men are newly diagnosed and 2,000 men die from the disease each year.
  • More than 900,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year worldwide.
  • The prostate is a gland that forms part of the male reproductive system. It secretes liquid to energise the sperm to fertilise the egg. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in this gland begin to multiply uncontrollably.
  • Prostate cancer is often a slow-growing cancer, but it is possible for these cells to spread, or metastasise, outside the gland and into the lymph system and bones.
  • This cancer usually develops in men over the age of fifty, and most commonly in men in their sixties, seventies and beyond. Men over the age of 45 should have regular check-ups, at least once a year.
  • The screening process should ideally include a rectal examination and a PSA blood test, both of which can help to indicate whether cancer is present.
  • There are three primary treatments: the surgical removal of the prostate (radical prostatectomy), brachytherapy and external beam radiation. In the case of older men, whose cancer is often slower to develop, doctors may recommend watchful waiting i.e. doing nothing but having regular tests to ensure the cancer has remained slow growing.
  • Radical prostatectomy may be performed though traditional surgical means (i.e. scalpel incision) or laparoscopically. The da Vinci surgical robotic systems introduced by Netcare in Johannesburg and Cape Town offer an additional highly effective treatment option to patients with cancer that is confined to the prostate.
  • Laparoscopic prostatectomy, which is a minimally invasive surgical option in which the surgeon navigates surgical tools and eyepiece inside the body, is difficult to master and is offered only through a few experts in South Africa.
  • Some 80% of all radical prostatectomies are now done with assistance of robotic technology in the United States.
  • Seven urologists have been trained locally and in Belgium on the da Vinci technology by means of a Netcare organised training course.
  • The da Vinci surgical technology delivers consistently good outcomes for patients compared to the more traditional forms of surgery for prostate cancer, and also results in fewer complications.
  • The da Vinci surgical system enables the practiced surgeon to operate within finer margins, which means there is less chance of leaving any cancerous tissue behind, providing good cancer control.

“Early Detection of Cancer Greatly Increases the Chances of Successful Treatment”

ER24 donates water to help those in need

ER24 donates water 3

ER24 Head Office and ER24 Joburg North visited The Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton earlier today in support of #OperationHydrate and donated water towards the worthy cause.

ER24 staff saw first-hand in recent weeks the impact the drought has had and continues to have on people.

ER24 paramedics made themselves available to offer medical assistance to anyone in need during the distribution process and helped hand out water to people in several drought-stricken areas during #OperationHydrate, started by a group of volunteers, and JacarandaFM's #ProjectWaterDrop.

ER24 urges individuals and organisations to support current initiatives being held to support those in need of water if they are in a position to do so.

ER24 donates water 1

ER24 donates water 2

CrashDetech Wins The Venture II in SA


CrashDetech is Chivas Regal’s The Venture Year Two South African winner. Announced at an exclusive red carpet event in Johannesburg on Thursday evening, Jaco Gerrits, Founder and CEO of CrashDetech will be making his way to the global finale of the social entrepreneurship competition in New York, where he will be one of 25 finalists who will present their final pitches for a chance to win a share of $1 million.

CrashDetech is a smartphone application, which automatically detects a serious car crash, pinpoints the location, immediately dispatches the nearest ambulance and supplies paramedics with lifesaving information.

Gerrits received this honour from Chivas Regal’s Head of Marketing, Sibusiso Shangase, and Ravi Naidoo, founder and Managing Director of Design Indaba.

“CrashDetech is an incredible creation that has the potential to save lives by reducing emergency response times by pinpointing a vehicle crash location in these potentially fatal incidences. We are confident that this innovative enterprise will represent South Africa exceptionally well in the global round of The Venture competition in the coming months,” said Shangase.

The Venture is Chivas Regal’s global search to find and support the most promising aspiring social entrepreneurs who want to succeed whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others. With over $1 million in funding and resources, The Venture will enable social entrepreneurs from around the world to realise their potential and gain exposure for their business.

CrashDetech’s win was not easy, having faced tight competition from four other local innovative start-ups; I’m Not Plastic (INP), Mama Mimi’s, Safe and Sound and Connectmed.

“Year two of The Venture was a great success. We saw a substantial increase in entrees submitted and the quality was magnificent. We wish the other contenders all the best in their ventures. We believe that the mentoring we provided for their final pitches assisted in improving their business proposals and hopefully they earned new knowledge on how to better it,” said Shangase.

Chivas Regal South Africa didn’t walk this route alone in deciding the winner; they acquired the help of established and recognised South African business experts and the judging process was moderated by Consilium Consulting Group, South Africa.

The Chivas Regal judging panel included Group Chairman of GEM Group, Lebo Gunguluza; Executive Creative Director at Joe Public, Xolisa Dyeshana; CEO and President of Ditshego Media, Tebogo Ditshego; Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Wits Business School, Chimene Chetty; and media personality and founder of Fix Scholarship, Fikile “Fix” Moeti.

Following the success of last year’s competition which saw over 1000 start-ups apply, Chivas Regal launched the second year of its search to support the most exciting social entrepreneurs around the world in the second half of 2015.

Last year’s competition awarded businesses tackling diverse social and environmental issues. The local winner in the inaugural launch of the campaign was Lumkani Fire Detection which went on to make top five in the global leg of the competition.

Launched in October 2014, the first year of The Venture saw 16 counties participate. This year’s competition welcomed entries from over 25 countries including Poland, Panama and Nigeria.

Only the most promising start-up from each country will be selected to become a global finalist and take part in The Venture’s Accelerator Week in the United Kingdom, where they will receive training and business advice, as well as mentoring from some of the biggest and most influential names in business. What’s more, each finalist will receive global exposure for their start-up before travelling to New York City for the finale.

About the Winner:

CrashDetech: With an average of 47 road fatalities per day, South Africa is one of the world’s most dangerous countries in which to drive. Time is the major factor in case of emergencies and delays in receiving appropriate medical attention often turns out to be fatal. CrashDetech is a smartphone application that runs silently in the background of your phone. It automatically detects serious vehicle crashes and reduces emergency response times by pinpointing the crash location. It also ensures the provision of appropriate medical attention by supplying vital patient information. “We'll know when you need us”.

For more information on the journey of the global finalists and year one alumni visit


Do you need life cover?

No Comments »Written on January 27th, 2016 by
Categories: Business, Finding Insurance, Life, Q&A


Life cover is the simple answer to some difficult questions:  How will my family survive if I'm not around to take care of them? How will my spouse settle the debts I leave behind like the mortgage on our home? How will my family pay for daily living expenses, healthcare and education if I am not around?

“Simply put, life cover protects the people who depend on you financially by providing them with an income to replace yours when you die.With the help of a professional financial advisor, you can decide how much life cover you need and how to work this into your budget.  Essentially, it’s a tool that’s designed to ensure that your loved ones can continue to live according to the standards you always provided, even after you’re gone” explains Ryan Chegwidden, Technical Head at Hollard Life.

Although this sounds simple, there are lots of factors to consider when deciding whether you need life cover, how much you need and what you can afford. Maybe you have a growing family with many dependants, a recent change to your standard of living or increase in debts, children moving out of home, a big career move or maybe you’re self-employed with business financial obligations that will need to be settled if something happens to you.  Given its important role, it’s no wonder that life insurance is considered a cornerstone of financial planning.   This is why choosing life cover is a task best navigated with the guidance of a professional financial advisor.

“A qualified financial advisor will take a look at your needs and design a financial plan to suit your unique circumstances.  This isn't something that can happen in just one conversation. Just as your life evolves and circumstances change, so too does your financial plan need to adjust to those life changes. Ideally, you should be meeting with your financial advisor once a year, or at least when you experience a significant lifestyle change.  An experienced financial advisor will help you choose the best insurance for your particular situation, compare prices across different insurers and calculate the right amount of cover for your needs,” explains Ryan.

So, while you’re scheduling that all important conversation with your financial advisor, Hollard Life provides these handy insights into what life cover is all about:

  • Do you need life insurance? The simple answer is, if anyone relies on you financially, you need life cover. It could be a spouse, life partner, children, business partner or even dependent parents or siblings. If someone is going to suffer financially if you are no longer around, you need life cover.
  • Life insurance is not designed to make your beneficiaries rich.  Life cover is not about providing a winning lotto ticket to your loved ones, it’s about making sure that their financial situation doesn't suffer when you pass away and that they can maintain their lifestyle.
    Typically, it helps those left behind deal with expenses and debts, lost income and future living expenses, until and if, they can provide for themselves.
  • How much cover do I need? How much life insurance you need involves two major factors: how much will it cost to pay your debts and how much will your dependants need to maintain their current lifestyle after you’re gone. You need to work with your financial advisor to understand how your need is determined, especially for families that have unusual debts and expenses.
  • Take care of inflation and rising living costs. Remember that a life policy pays out on death only and that could be anywhere from 1 to 80 years away, so your life cover should increase over time. A R1 million payout may seem enormous today but, 20 years down the line, it will be worth a great deal less after adjusting for inflation. Before signing onto a policy, ask your financial advisor if the policy automatically factors in voluntary increases and allows you to buy more insurance later on, if necessary.
  • Does life cover always pay a lump sum? Life cover that pays a lump sum will help your beneficiaries with the immediate expenses they face following your death, but what about the months or even years after that? That’s where an income death benefit fits in. It makes monthly payments to your beneficiaries to help them cope financially without you. It’s useful if your beneficiaries don’t have the knowledge and experience to manage a large lump sum in such a way that it will provide for them in the years that follow your death. Taking a combination of the two ensures that your dependants will be taken care of both immediately after your death and in the months or even years that follow.

“You don’t want to burden your family with your debts, or worse, leave them without a breadwinner and financial security. Speak to a professional financial advisor who will guide you to the best life insurance choices based on your unique needs.  Most of all, life cover provides you with the peace of mind of knowing that your family’s future is secure so that you can get on with living and enjoying today,” concludes Ryan.

Typhoid Fever– What you need to know!

typhoid-fever-2-728Following recent news of four cases of typhoid in Johannesburg, many people are wondering how to safeguard themselves.

While there is no current concern for spread, ER24 urges people to familiarise themselves with how a person develops the illness and how it affects a person.

Explaining the illness, Dr Robyn Holgate, Chief Medical Officer for ER24, said, “Typhoid is a serious bacterial infection usually caused by Salmonella enterica serotype typhi.

“Typhoid, also known as enteric fever, is contagious and is spread by either direct contact with the faeces or urine of somebody infected, or indirectly by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. The spread may increase in situations where poor hygiene and sanitation conditions exist although it could be spread by incidental ingestion of contaminated food, fruit or fluids. Humans are the only reservoir hence a travel or recent contact history is critical in establishing whether typhoid is a likely diagnosis or not, as there are many other organisms which may cause enteric type illness or gastro-enteritis.”

Dr Rolf Verster, a General and Occupational Health Practitioner in private practice who also runs a Travel Clinic and Travel Health Consultancy at Mediclinic Sandton, said typhoid fever is a serious enteric and systemic infection that may be insidious in onset and presentation.

“In the early stages, patients may only present with fever, constipation (usually older children and adults) or sometimes diarrhoea (in younger children), abdominal pain, loss of appetite, body pains and headache,” said Dr Verster.

Usually people present about 10 to 14 days after exposure, but the incubation period could range from five to 21 days post exposure. They present with a high temperature (38.5 degrees Celsius or more) and chills.

The patient also presents with malaise, myalgia (muscle pains) and a bradycardia (slow pulse) in the first week. Blood tests may still be negative during this stage. The patient may also describe gastrointestinal signs and around the second week, may develop a feint rose spot rash on the chest and abdomen. The patient is usually too tired to get up and may appear confused as a result of dehydration.

“Any patient with worsening or unresolved diarrhoea should consult with a health care professional. Although some patients may present without serious signs and symptoms, the usual presentation of typhoid is that of a very ill patient who is dehydrated, may have the rose spot rash (only in 30 percent of patients), and has diarrhoea and dehydration with a high fever. The patient may also present with bleeding from the nose, or mention that they noticed blood in their diarrhoeal stool,” said Dr Holgate.

She said that if diagnosed early enough, typhoid is imminently treatable with oral antibiotics and rehydration. A very dehydrated or critically ill patient will be admitted to hospital for a drip and intravenous treatment. Complications could include intestinal perforation, multi-organ involvement, meningitis and shock.

“We remind the public that typhoid occurs worldwide, and we often experience outbreaks in developing countries. There is no need to panic. Although there is no current concern for spread, it is always good to practice safe food and hand hygiene techniques to ensure avoidance of any enteric or gastrointestinal diseases.

“Critical for the prevention of spread is good hand washing especially before eating and after using the toilet, drinking uncontaminated water (bottled water, boiled and cooled water or appropriately chlorinated water), and eating food which has been properly washed. Food not properly washed or heated should be avoided. If you are eating fruit and vegetables not washed by yourself, consider peeling it first. Warm food from street vendors should be cooked and served hot. Using clean plates, cups and utensils is also advised.

“In areas where there are outbreaks, avoid ice unless you are sure it has been made with bottled water. If soap and running water are not available for hand washing, use a hand sanitiser containing at least 60 percent alcohol,” said Dr Holgate.

Dr Verster added, “Meticulous hand washing and observing standard precautions are the pillars of infection control. For travellers who are going to areas where typhoid outbreaks are common, vaccination with typhoid vaccine is advised. However, it may not be effective against current typhoid strains. It is wise to speak to a travel health care specialist when planning your trip.”


Issued by Chitra Bodasing

ER24 spokesperson


AA becomes newest drop-off site for Hope Grass Project



The Automobile Association (AA) has partnered with AgriSA to become the newest drop-off site for the Hope Grass Project.

This project collects lawn cuttings from homes, plots, and businesses, and puts it to good use. Once dried, the lawn cuttings are collected by AgriSA who then process the cuttings into grass pellets for cattle and sheep.

“We are offering our premises in Kyalami as a drop-off site and will manage the grass coming in to ensure it is suitable to be donated. We know the drought in South Africa is having a devastating impact on farmers across the country and will have an adverse knock-on effect on the economy. This is our small way of helping. We urge all people in the Midrand area to bring their lawn cuttings to us and we will pass it on to AgriSA,” the AA said.

The drop-off site for the lawn cuttings is the AA’s head office in Kyalami at Denis Paxton House, 4 Hyperion Road, Barbeque Downs.  For a map to our offices, and for an important list of do’s and don’ts for handling your grass before dropping it off, please visit

Our drop-off site will be open from Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm. For more information regarding the drop-off site, please contact Layton Beard on 082 452 7527.