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Health Beat #11 | Why do more Black SA women get cervical cancer than any other race in the country?

  • The United Kingdom and Australia have virtually wiped out cervical cancer with jabs. But in South Africa thousands of women, particularly Black women, still die of the disease each year.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV), which is mostly contracted via sex, causes cervical cancer. HPV jabs are over 90% effective. That’s why state schools in South Africa give girls the jabs for free — but we’ve fallen behind.
  • This month on Health Beat, we find out why this vaccine drive has hit a snag and we meet a nurse who is convincing parents to get their daughters vaccinated.
  • Mia Malan finds out why cervical cancer is a political disease and talks to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases about the impact of COVID-19 on parents’ willingness to get their kids vaccinated.

Mia Malan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bhekisisa. She has worked in newsrooms in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Washington, DC, winning more than 30 awards for her radio, print and television work.

Mohale Moloi is Bhekisisa's television producer and a health journalist.

As an SABC TV reporter in the Mandela years, Jessica Pitchford covered news events during one of the most exciting periods of South Africa’s history. She’s worked as a documentary producer for Special Assignment, story editor for current affairs shows Carte Blanche & Checkpoint, as head researcher for Netflix production ‘Senzo’  and has written five non-fiction books.

Yolanda Mdzeke is a multimedia reporter at Bhekisisa.

Tshidiso Lechuba is a freelance video editor working in Johannesburg.

Tshidiso Thangwana is a freelance cameraman working in Johannesburg.

Dylan Bush is Bhekisisa's production and multimedia manager.