Bhekisisa health reporter Pontsho Pilane has won an impactAfrica award for her reporting on access to healthy, safe and dignified menstruation.
Pilane won the fourth round of the impactAfrica competition, which sought to award stories that shed light on the challenges women and girls face in accessing healthcare and health services. The award acknowledges a series of pieces by Pilane on menstruation that covered issues such as inequities in people's access to sanitary pads or alternatives as well as pushes for the introduction of government-subsidised pads.
For Pilane, who was named Vodacom Young Journalist of the Year in 2016, this is the latest accolade recognising her deep commitment to covering gender issues.
Tampon tax: What's the big deal?
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Why are people who menstruate forced to spend at least R40 000 on sanitary products in their lifetime?
She will also join Chris Roper, deputy director at Code for Africa and International Centre for Journalists Knight Fellow, on a panel at the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers' World News Media Congress in Durban in June.
Pilane has also been named as a finalist in this year's Discovery Health Journalism awards alongside Bhekisisa news editor Laura Lopez Gonzalez and senior multimedia journalist Demelza Bush.
Former Bhekisisa journalist Ina Skosana is also a finalist in the features category and Mail & Guardian business journalist Lynley Donnelly is up for an award for best health economics reporting.
In a statement released this week, Discovery Health judges said the quality of entries this year was exceptional and noted that it was a challenge to identify the finalists. They commended reporters for improving knowledge and encouraging public interest in matters that shape health and healthcare.
Pilane will accompany fellow impactAfrica award-winner and M&G environmental reporter Sipho Kings on a study tour of the United States. Kings was also awarded the prestigious Nieman Fellowship this week and will attend Harvard University in August.
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