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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 worked at Bhekisisa as a television producer and health journalist from July 2021 to March 2024.

Jessica Pitchford is Bhekisisa's TV and multimedia editor. She's been a journalist since the early nineties and has reported on some pivotal events in South Africa’s political history, such as the country’s transition to democracy and the work of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

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 was a health journalist at Bhekisisa from February 2016 to September 2023.