SA is the top country in Africa for medical research and development (R&D) and one of the top in the world. It invests heavily in R&D, has world-renowned universities and research laboratories and has the highest scientific output per capita on the continent. Yet despite its pre-eminence in R&D, the country’s healthcare system is still weak. According to the World Health Organisation’s 2017 statistics, SA’s life expectancy at birth is 62.9. This is high for sub-Saharan Africa but low compared with other mid-and high-income countries. In recent initiatives, the Department of Science and Technology directed research funds towards diseases that most affect the country. This effort has been effective, yet there is still gross inequality in research and disease burden. For example, HIV/AIDS accounts for about 40% of the country’s disease burden, yet it receives far less attention (less than 4% by some calculations) from researchers. This is a grave injustice. SA needs to continue to orie...

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