Health care in South Africa

first_imgSouth Africa’s public health system is a countrywide network of care facilities ranging from mobile and rural clinics to huge academic hospitals in the urban centres.A new mother takes her baby for a checkup and vaccinations at a local clinic. (Image: Department of Health)In this article:IntroductionExpenditure on healthNational, provincial and localNational Health InsuranceFacilitiesDoctor shortagesStatutory bodiesLegislationHealth profile: HIV, TB, maternal and child health, malariaTraditional medicineIntroductionHealth care in South Africa varies from the most basic primary health care, offered free by the state, to highly specialised, hi-tech health services available in the both the public and private sector.However, the public sector is stretched and under-resourced in places. While the state contributes about 40% of all expenditure on health, the public health sector is under pressure to deliver services to about 80% of the population.The private sector, on the other hand, is run largely on commercial lines and caters to middle- and high-income earners who tend to be members of medical schemes. It also attracts most of the country’s health professionals.This two-tiered system is not only inequitable and inaccessible to a large portion of South Africans, but institutions in the public sector have suffered poor management, underfunding and deteriorating infrastructure. While access has improved, the quality of health care has fallen.The situation is compounded by public health challenges, including the burden of diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB), and a shortage of key medical personnel.However, the South African government is responding with a far-reaching reform plan to revitalise and restructure the South African health care system, including:Fast-tracking the implementation of a National Health Insurance scheme, which will eventually cover all South Africans.Strengthening the fight against HIV and TB, non-communicable diseases, as well as injury and violence.Improving human-resource management at state hospitals and strengthening co- ordination between the public and private health sector.Deploying “health teams” to communities and schools.Regulating costs to make health care affordable to all.Increasing life expectancy from 56.5 years in 2009 to 58.5 years in 2014.ExpenditureThe bulk of health-sector funding comes from the South Africa’s National Treasury. The health budget for 2012/13 was R121-billion, which was aimed at improving hospitals and strengthening public health ahead of the National Health Insurance scheme.In 2011, total spend on health was R248.6-billion – or around 8.3% of GDP, way above the 5% recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Despite this high expenditure, health outcomes remain poor when compared to similar middle-income countries. This can largely be attributed to the inequities between the public and private sector.According to the National Treasury’s Fiscal Review for 2011, the GDP spend on health was split as follows:R120.8-billion (48.5%) in the private sector, which covers 16.2% of the population or 8.2-million people, many of whom have medical cover.R122.4-billion (49.2%) in the public sector, which is made up of 84% of the population, or 42-million people, who generally rely on the public health care sector.The remaining R5.3-billion (2.3%) is donor and NGO spend.See South Africa gears up for National HealthThe latest budget on the National Treasury’s websiteNational, provincial and localBefore South Africa’s first democratic elections, hospitals were assigned to particular racial groups and most were concentrated in white areas. With 14 different health departments, the system was characterised by fragmentation and duplication. But in 1994 the dismantling began, and transformation is now under fully under way.However, high levels of poverty and unemployment mean health care remains largely the burden of the state. The Department of Health holds overall responsibility for health care, with a specific responsibility for the public sector.Visit the Department of HealthProvincial health departments provide and manage comprehensive health services, via a district-based, public health-care model. Local hospital management has delegated authority over operational issues, such as the budget and human resources, to facilitate quicker responses to local needs.Public health consumes around 11% of the government’s total budget, which is allocated and mostly spent by the nine provinces. How these resources are allocated, and the standard of health care delivered, varies from province to province.A Health Charter has been devised with the aim of creating a platform for engagement between sectors to address issues of access, equity and quality of health services as well as issues of broad-based black economic empowerment and employment equity.Download a copy of the Revised Draft Health Charter [PDF]South Africa has more than 110 registered medical schemes, with around 3,4-million principal members (and 7,8-million beneficiaries).See the Council for Medical Schemes, an autonomous statutory body created by parliament.Hundreds of NGOs make an essential contribution to HIV, Aids and TB, mental health, cancer, disability and the development of public health systems. The part played by NGOs – from a national level, through provincial and local, to their role in individual communities – is vitally important to the functioning of the overall system.National Health InsuranceThe Department of Health is focused on implementing an improved health system, which involves an emphasis focus on public health, as well as improving the functionality and management of the system through stringent budget and expenditure monitoring.Known as the “10-point plan”, the strategic programme is improving hospital infrastructure and human resources management, as well as procurement of the necessary equipment and skills.Under this plan, health facilities – such as nursing colleges and tertiary hospitals – are being upgraded and rebuilt to lay the way for the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.The NHI is intended to bring about reform that will improve service provision and health care delivery. It will promote equity and efficiency to ensure that all South Africans have access to affordable, quality health care services regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution to the NHI Fund.The NHI will be phased in over 14 years, beginning in 2012. In 2012/13, the government earmarked R1-billion to its pilot projects.Apart from infrastructure and management overhauls, another factor for ensuring the success of the NHI will be the strict regulation of the sector to make it more affordable to all South Africans.See the Department of Health’s FAQs on the NHIFacilitiesThere are 4 200 public health facilities in South Africa. People per clinic is 13  718, exceeding WHO guidelines of 10 000 per clinic. However, figures from March 2009 show that people averaged 2.5 visits a year to public health facilities and the usable bed occupancy rates were between 65% and 77% at hospitals.Since 1994, more than 1 600 clinics have been built or upgraded. Free health care for children under six and for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers was introduced in the mid-1990s.The National Health Laboratory Service is the largest pathology service in South Africa. It has 265 laboratories, serving 80% of South Africans. The labs provide diagnostic services as well as health-related research.See the National Health Laboratory ServiceDoctor shortagesIn March 2012, 165 371 qualified health practitioners in both public and private sectors were registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, the health practitioner watchdog body. This includes 38 236 doctors and 5 560 dentists.The doctor-to-population ratio is estimated to be 0.77 per 1 000. But because the vast majority of GPs – 73% – work in the private sector, there is just one practising doctor for every 4 219 people.In response, the Department of Health has introduced clinical health associates, midlevel health-care providers, to work in underserved rural areas.About 1 200 medical students graduate annually. In some communities, medical students provide health services at clinics under supervision. Newly graduating doctors and pharmacists complete a year of compulsory community service in understaffed hospitals and clinics.In an attempt to boost the number of doctors in the country, South Africa signed a co- operation agreement with Cuba in 1995. South Africa has since recruited hundreds of Cuban doctors to practice here, while South Africa is able to send medical students to Cuba to study.South Africa believes the Cuban opportunity will help train the doctors it so desperately needs for the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme.Other agreements exist with Tunisia and Iran, as well as between Johannesburg Hospital and Maputo Central Hospital.The government has also made it easier for other foreign doctors to register here.The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa had 3 773 registered “complementary health” practitioners in 2012.See the Allied Health Professions Council of South AfricaStatutory bodiesStatutory bodies for the health-service professions include:Allied Health Professions Council of South AfricaCouncil for Medical SchemesHealth Professions Council of South AfricaMedicines Control CouncilThe National Health Laboratory ServiceSouth African Dental Technicians CouncilSouth African Medical Research CouncilSouth African Nursing CouncilSouth African Pharmacy CouncilLegislationThe National Health Act, 61 of 2003, provides a framework for a single health system for South Africa. The Act provides for a number of basic health care rights, including the right to emergency treatment and the right to participate in decisions regarding one’s health.The implementation of the Act was initiated in 2006, and some provinces are engaged in aligning their provincial legislation with the national Act.Other legislation relating to health care, some recently passed, include laws which aim to:Ensure all health establishments comply with minimum standards through an independent entity (National Health Amendment Bill, 2010)Make drugs more affordable and provide for transparency in the pricing of medicines (Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Act, 59 of 2002)Regulate the medical schemes industry to prevent it from discriminating against “high risk” individuals like the aged and sick (Medical Schemes Act, 1998)Legalise abortion and allow for safe access to it in both public and private health facilities (Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 92 of 1996)Limit smoking in public places, create public awareness of the health risks of tobacco by requiring certain information on packaging, and prohibt the sale of tobacco produces to anyone younger than 18 (Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act, 23 of 2007)Provide for the introduction of mandatory community service for nurses (Nursing Act, 2005)Introduce a process to develop and redesign mental health services so as to grant basic rights to people with mental illnesses (Mental Health Care Act, 2002)Allow non-pharmacists to own pharmacies, with the aim of improving access to medicines (Pharmacy Amendment Act, 2000). This came into effect during May 2003.Other important developments in health care policy and legislation include:The Health Professions Amendment Bill of 2006The Traditional Health Practitioners Act, 35 of 2004Regulations relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs came into effect in May 2012, and aim to empower citizens to make healthy food choices.Find full copies of health-related Acts, Bills, and other legal documents on the Department of Health’s websiteHealth profileHIV and tuberculosisAids and other poverty-related diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera place a tremendous strain on South Africa’s health care system. According to Statistics South Africa, in 2011:The overall HIV prevalence rate was 10,6%. About one-fifth of South African women in their reproductive ages were HIV positive.There were 5,38-million people living with HIV. This was up from 4,21-million in 2001.16,6% of the adult population (aged 15-49) years was HIV positive.There were about 2,01-million orphans due to HIV.New HIV infections for 2011 among adults was estimated at 316 900.An estimated 1,06-million adults and 105 123 children were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2010. This was up from 101 416 and close to 12 000 children in 2005.In May 2012, the government said it had cut the mother-to-child transmission rate from 3.5% in 2010 to less than 2%. It also said the rate of new infections had dropped from 1.4% to 0.8% in the 18 to 24 age groups.South Africa’s HIV/Aids battle planHealth sector overhaul on track: reportHIV and TB are dangerous bed fellows: the co-infection rates exceed 70%, with TB being the most common opportunistic infection in HIV-positive patients.Because of late detection, poor treatment management, drug-resistant forms of TB (known as DR-TB or multidrug-resistant TB; and XDR TB or extensively drug-resistant TB) have increased significantly, with about 5 500 cases diagnosed during 2009.See the WHO’s factsheet on tuberculosisIntegrating the double scourge of HIV/Aids and TB for the first time, the government has launched the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and TB for 2012 – 2016. It is shored up by a provincial implementation programme.The plan seeks to address the social structural drivers of HIV/Aids, STD and TB care, prevention and support; to prevent new infections; to sustain health and wellness; and to protect human rights and access to justice of sufferers.The HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign was launched in April 2010 – by mid- 2012, almost 20-million people had been tested and knew their status. Millions were also screened for TB.Increasing the number of anti-retroviral sites as well as nurses certified to initiate ARV treatment has seen 1.7-million people placed on ARV treatment, from 1.1-million in 2009. South Africa has the largest ARV therapy programme in the world, and an improved procurement process has seen a 50% decrease in the prices of ARV drugs.Download the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and TB for 2012 [PDF]Download the Global Aid Response Progress Report 2012 [PDF]Visit UNAids profile of South Africa, which includes statistics and progress reportsMaternal healthSouth Africa is a signatory to several international commitments such as the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seeks to address the health needs of women and children. However, in South Africa the health of mothers and children remains poor.According to statistics from WHO, South Africa has a maternal mortality ratio of 310 deaths per 100 000 lives births. The infant (under-1) mortality rate in 2010 was 41 deaths per 1 000 live births, while the under-5 mortality rate was 57 per 1 000 live births.Under the national prevention of mother-to-child (PMTCT) programme, every pregnant woman is offered HIV testing and counselling. If a woman tests positive for HIV, she is put on to a regime of anti-retroviral therapy to avoid transmitting the virus to her baby, and is offered a continuum of treatment, care and support for herself and her infant.But it is really access and utilisation of antenatal care services that most influence pregnancy outcome, child survival and maternal health. The renewed focus on primary health and the improving and expanding the health system infrastructure should go some way to addressing the high mortality rates – and get South Africa closer to the MDG target of reducing infant mortality to 20 by 2015.The Department of Health has a strategic plan in place which identifies “priority interventions” that will have the greatest influence on reducing mortality rates, as well as enhancing gender equity and reproductive health.The campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), an African Union initiative, was launched in May 2012 and aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.Download the Strategic Plan for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Women’s Health and Nutrition in South Africa 2012 – 2016 [PDF]See the UN website on its Millennium Development GoalsRead more about the African Union’s CARMMA campaignChild healthImmunisation is a significant barrier against disease and death, and the rates of children receiving their primary vaccines have steadily been increasing under immunisation programmes. These aim to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, TB, cholera and pertussis.Measures to improve child health also include the expansion and strengthening of school health services and the establishment of district clinical specialist teams.Other prevention services, such as regular deworming and growth monitoring, help protect children’s health.The Health of our Children report in 2010, which surveyed 8 966 children, found that HIV prevalence among infants (age 0 to 2 years) was 2.1%, lower than the 3.3% average in the age 0 to 4 years, suggesting a positive impact of the national Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission programme, begun in 2006.Download a copy of the Health of our Children reportMalariaMalaria is not endemic in South Africa, and does not pose a major health risk. According to the WHO’s World Malaria Report 2010, only 4% of the population is at high risk of malaria and 6% at low risk, while 90% live in malaria-free areas. Almost all cases are caused by Plasmodium falciparum. Transmission occurs seasonally, with peak rates of infection occurring in April and declining by June.See the WHO’s Malaria Country Profile, 2010 for South Africa [PDF]Traditional medicineAn estimated 80% of South Africans consult with traditional healers alongside general medical practitioners.The Medical Research Council (MRC) founded a traditional medicines research unit in 1997 to introduce modern research methodologies around the use of traditional medicines. It also aims to develop a series of patents for promising new entities derived from medicinal plants.See the MRC’s Traditional Medicines Research UnitBrand South Africa reporterLast reviewed: 2 July 2012Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Mac App Store Open for Business with 1000’s of Apps

first_imgTags:#Apple#web audrey watters “We think users are going to love this innovative new way to discover and buy their favorite apps,” says Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Developers may love the new app store too, as arguably it gives them better exposure. Developers will share the same 70%-30% split with Apple that they do for iPhone and iPad apps. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Apple has opened the new Mac App Store for business this morning. At launch, the store features more than 1000 free and paid apps.The store brings the iTunes app sales model to Mac apps, an effort to make it as easy to find, buy, and install apps on your Mac as it is for your Apple mobile devices. The store is available to Snow Leopard users through a software update as part of Mac OS x v10.6.6. Apps are available in the categories already familiar to iPhone and iPad users: Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity, Utilities. Well-known Apple titles are available – iMovie and GarageBand, for example, are available for $14.99, and Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are $19.99 each. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Team doctor Winston Dawes declares Usain Bolt fit and ready for London Olympics

first_imgTeam doctor of Jamaica’s track and field outfit Winston Dawes says Usain Bolt is fit and ready for the Olympics despite lingering public concerns over his fitness. Doctor Dawes has shrugged off suggestions that Bolt will miss the Games with injury despite reports that the Olympic champion is suffering with niggling leg and back problems, CMC reports.Bolt withdrew from last Friday’s Monaco Diamond League meeting, where he had been due to run the 200m, with what his coach Glen Mills called a “slight” problem.”We saw him yesterday…he is fine…there is nobody who is doing this time in training that could be injured,” Dawes told reporters.”I just think that people panic a little and I think that he can be reassured that he is fully back and that he will be there at his very best.”The triple Olympic gold medallist has also been forced to ponder a possible threat to his track dominance from compatriot Yohan Blake who defeated him twice during the Jamaica trials last month.Recently, he travelled to Germany to see renowned sports doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt but Dawes has insisted that the 25-year-old would be ready to run.”He has been tired mentally and physically and he has been really training very, very hard over the last three weeks since our championships,” said Dawes.”He is fine. He is fine. He has done some fantastic times in training. So there should be no problems about that.”Meanwhile, at a news conference in London on Thursday, Bolt admitted that he had recently been nursing an injury, a back problem that led to hamstring tightness.advertisementBut he said the issue has been corrected and he has been able to put together several weeks of intense training.”It’s all about the championship,” he told reporters. “I’m ready to go.”Bolt holds the 100-metre world record of 9.58 seconds and the 200-metre record of 19.19 seconds.The Olympics opening ceremony will take place on Friday, while the 100-metre preliminaries commence on August 4.last_img read more

Deepika Padukone to play Ranveer Singh aka Kapil Devs wife in 83

first_imgRanveer Singh and Deepika Padukone.InstagramAfter wrapping up her first movie as a producer and actor, actress Deepika Padukone flew to London and has confirmed that she will be playing the role of Kapil Dev’s wife Romi Bhatia in the Kabir Khan helmed ’83 which also stars Deepika Padukone’s real-life husband Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev. This will be the first time the star couple will share screen space since they got married.The film, ’83 will recreate the historic events which led the Indian cricket team to win the 1983 world cup against West Indies. The cast finished shooting in Dharamshala and is now in London, shooting for the movie under the mentorship and guidance of none other than Kapil Dev.Before the whole team flew out to London, we saw them all chic and dressed up wearing the Indian cricket team Insignia. Ranveer Singh took to social media to share a picture of the whole team and captioned it, “Kapil’s Devils”. The movie also stars Pankaj Tripathi along with Hardy Sandhu amongst the other actors.Ranveer Singh starrer, ’83 is set to release on the April 10, 2020 and is going to be the first tri-lingual release for both, Kabir Khan and Ranveer Singh having being released in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.last_img read more

HISD Bus Frustrations Continue Harris Countys First Wage Theft Case Rare Books

first_imgThursday, September 6, 2018Frustrations over bus system continueLaura IsenseeFamilies wait in line on the first day of school at the magnet bus hub stop at Wilson PK-5 on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. Problems have plagued the new bus system all week.The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is scrambling this week to resolve several problems with its new bus system for magnet schools, though some parents are so frustrated they’re giving up on the routes. The new system involves hub stops for some 20,000 Houston students attending magnet, or specialty, schools outside their neighborhoods. It was meant to cut down on wait and commute times.However, it has caused delays and long rides for many families. Man charged in Harvey repair wage theft caseProsecutors have filed the first ever wage theft case in Harris County against a local man who stiffed a self-employed independent contractor for $2,300, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.Sonny D. Nicholas, 62, has been charged with Theft of Service for the post-Harvey rip off of a house painter in April 2018.“This is about treating people decently and obeying the law,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a news release. Rare books out for public viewingGail Delaughter A Spanish book of hymns from the 1500’s sits next to a letter from Sam Houston in the rare books room.These aren’t the books you’ll find on the shelf at your local library branch. To access the Houston Public Library’s rare book collection, we’re taken to an upper floor of the downtown library’s historic Julia Idelson Building.We go through a locked door to a darkened, climate-controlled room that’s referred to as “The Vault.” CDC Confirms Measles Case in HoustonThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed Wednesday a case of measles in Houston, according to the City’s Health Department.The Health Department detailed that a boy between 1 and 3 years of age contracted the illness. The boy was being treated at Texas Children’s Hospital.This is the first case of measles in Houston since 2013. The Health Department has found that, so far, no other persons who could have been exposed are at risk of having contracted the illness. Sharelast_img read more

More engagement with trade will help boost Caribbean visits from Canada in

first_img Thursday, December 22, 2016 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img More engagement with trade will help boost Caribbean visits from Canada in 2017: CTO Hugh Riley — Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism OrganizationBRIDGETOWN — Calling 2016 “an impressive, yet challenging year” for Caribbean tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Secretary General Hugh Riley says strong inbound visitor figures from Europe and the U.S. helped offset a tough year from the Canadian market.Riley said the Caribbean is poised to meet its 30 million arrivals target set two years ago at its State of the Tourism Industry Conference. “Yet, amidst the year’s impressive achievements, the Canadian market was a concern,” said Riley. Traditionally a robust achiever, even during the tough global economic meltdown, Canada delivered declining numbers this year, sparked by the weakening of the Canadian dollar.“We are moving to reverse that slide, combining our efforts with those of our CTO member-countries and our industry partners,” said Riley. The CTO is looking to hire a Business Development Representative in the first quarter of 2017 “to substantially enhance the Caribbean’s engagement in Canada’s most productive areas”, identify and develop business in non-traditional areas and work closely with our members’ representatives for maximum impact, he said.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”New travel agent training and certification, increased use of targeted social media, enhanced deployment of the CTO’s data analysis tools, and more focused engagement with the Caribbean diaspora are all components of the 2017 strategy for Canada, Riley added.While air arrivals to the Caribbean were up, key performance metrics for the region’s hotel industry recorded declined through the first half of 2016, based on data compiled by Smith Travel Research Inc. The slumps were influenced by a rise in room stock and a fall in demand for traditional hotel rooms, attributed in part to ‘the sharing economy’, e.g. Airbnb.Mother Nature challenged the Caribbean as well, with some member countries affected in varying degrees by hurricanes. “Yet despite the adversities occasioned by these events, our resilience and fortitude as a region stood out and even the worst affected were back open for business in quick time, proving that tourism is an effective way to re-energize an economy following a natural or other disaster,” said Riley.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTThe onset of the Zika virus also presented a challenge and the CTO continues to work with its partners, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Public Health Agency to address concerns raised by our suppliers and potential visitors.The CTO also continues to monitor the possible impact of the Brexit vote as the UK moves to end and its membership in the European Union.The CTO’s declaration of 2016 as ‘The Year of Romance’ in the Caribbean was a success story, with member-countries and industry partners organizing events or participating in roadshows specializing in romance, said Riley. “Our 30 Days of Caribbean Romance social media marathon reached 10.5 million people in June, while millions more were reached through the innovative Periscope Marathon and Tweet Chat featuring romantic places of the Caribbean, and our Five Romantic Facts about each member-country during Caribbean Tourism Month in November.”What’s the theme for 2017? Riley announced that next year will be the ‘Year of Adventure’ in the Caribbean. Tags: Caribbean, Caribbean Tourism Organizationlast_img read more

Overcapacity concerns downward pressure on fares No worries say Carnival Corp RCCL

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by This story originally ran in the Oct. 4, 2018 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here.TORONTO — Cruise companies have finally realized that it’s just as important, if not more so, to keep your travel agent partners onside as it is to build up and market your own call centre and direct booking channels.The relationship hasn’t been without its ups and downs but for the most part cruise lines have been a steadfast partner for the trade.It’s at the point where cruise bookings are such a core product for so many agencies that success (or lack of it) for the cruise industry can make or break travel agencies heavily invested in cruise sales.When cruise companies falter, travel agents feel it.While cruise fares have dipped slightly for the world’s biggest cruise company, Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald says there’s no cause for concern.Carnival Corp. recently posted its highest-ever quarterly performance, and that’s saying something, considering the cruise giant has been on a tear for the past few years with increasingly strong results.With 10 cruise line brands, and 11.5 million passengers a year – that’s half the entire global cruise market – Carnival Corp. and its ships cut a sizeable wake. Cruise lines including Carnival Corp., especially with its core brand Carnival Cruise Line, have been working hard in recent years to maintain price integrity and keep yields up, and to make bargain-basement cruise fares a thing of the past.Starting in June Carnival Corporation’s booking volumes for the first half of 2019 were running significantly higher than the prior year, at lower prices.But more recently, during the first half of September, booking volumes for the first half of next year were still running higher than last year and at higher prices too.Based on these booking trends, Carnival Corp. says it expects continued improvement when it comes to net revenue yields for the first half of 2019.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthGross revenue yields were up 4% in Q3. Net income for the company clocked in at US$1.7 billion, up from $1.3 billion. Revenues for the third quarter of 2018 were $5.8 billion, up from $5.5 billion.High fuel costs are an ongoing concern and Carnival, like every other company keeping an eye on fuel prices, has warned that climbing costs will put a dent in its Q4 results. Carnival Corp.’s Q3 2018 fuel bill was $434 million, up from $307 million in Q3 2017.For now at least, strong execution is overcoming fuel (and currency) headwinds, says Donald.Carnival and other cruise companies have been known to levy fuel surcharges, but so far haven’t resorted to this unpopular measure despite escalating fuel bills.Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain acknowledges that rising fuel costs are a concern for Royal Caribbean too – RCCL hedges about 50% of its fuel needs. While keeping an eye on fuel costs, RCCL, parent company of Royal Caribbean, is going full steam ahead with its $1 billion investment to upgrade RCI ships, transform private island CocoCay in the Bahamas and attract more Millennials.Just like Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is raking in the dollars, with revenues of US$2.3 billion for Q2.In an interview with CNBC, Fain said new ships like Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, heading into its first full year of sailing in 2019, and the much anticipated and soon to be launched Celebrity Edge with its cantilevered floating platform, have created a lot of good momentum “and that’s carrying us nicely into 2019.”“We’re constantly improving our ships. New features attract more customers, they pay more, and that gives us the money to build and enhance our ships,” says Fain.RCCL, already with several brands under its belt including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara, is now even bigger with its majority stake purchase of luxury line Silversea Cruises this summer, with three new ships on the way.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTMeanwhile Carnival Corp.’s capacity increases come with concerns about too many berths driving down prices and yields but Donald says there’s no cause for alarm.Carnival Corp. is spreading its capacity growth over a number of its brands and geographical regions “and we’re careful when and where we add capacity,” says Donald. Any over-concentration of capacity in individual markets will be temporary, he adds, and alleviated by new demand from the undersaturated cruise market.He adds: “We’re working aggressively to grow demand for our brands which will allow us to continue to fill our ships at increasingly attractive rates, while still providing a better value to the equivalent land-based alternative.”And while he first attributes Carnival Corp.’s performance to the Carnival Corp. team, he doesn’t forget the cruise company’s other, equally important team: travel agents. The record-breaking Q3 results, he says, “are a testament to the tens of thousands of travel professionals who so enthusiastically support our brand.” Overcapacity concerns, downward pressure on fares? No worries, say Carnival Corp., RCCL Kathryn Folliott Friday, October 12, 2018 Tags: Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line Share About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019last_img read more