Spare a thought for beleaguered health minister Zweli Mkhize. It has been a bad year for health ministers around the world. In truth, however, it is never a political blessing to hold this dismal portfolio.

Health ministers everywhere find themselves curiously powerless at the best of times. Unable to divert resources from expensive and ineffectual treatment programmes to the prevention initiatives that are the real route to a flourishing population, they are condemned to be ministers of illness rather than of health...

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