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Health Beat #16 | Why the upcoming Tobacco Bill treats e-cigarettes like smokes

Are e-cigarettes healthier than traditional smokes? The vaping and tobacco industries would have us believe that they are, but doctors and researchers are sceptical. We find out why young people are getting hooked on nicotine-enhanced fruity flavours — and break down the potentially deadly consequences.

SA doctors make up to 40 times more than those in Kenya and Nigeria

Government doctors in South Africa aren’t paid enough, says the South African Medical Association. Yet in a month, some earn up to three times more than their counterparts in other middle-income countries in Africa. What do our salary scales mean for filling vacant posts?

Floods, food and families: Why climate change makes eating well harder

Even though there is enough food in South Africa to feed the whole country, not everyone can access that food. Women-headed homes are especially hard hit when it comes to hunger, and as weather patterns change because of global warming, this could worsen. Will political parties in the upcoming election care?

Is it cheers to saying cheers? Why science says no to drinking alcohol

Thirty years ago, having a drink or two every day was thought to be good for your heart — thanks in part to the so-called French paradox. But research now shows that even a little alcohol can up the chance of developing some types of cancer.

Eating to survive: How to know if your party is taking hunger seriously

David Harrison breaks down five ways in which hunger among children can be decreased and explains why it’s important to hold the party you plan to vote for accountable to do something about food insecurity.

[WATCH] Is snoring a sign of a sleep disorder?

Sleep apnoea means you stop breathing for some time while asleep. Your brain then tells your body to wake up so that you can get much-needed oxygen. Picture this happening 42 times an hour every night. That’s what Juanita Herholdt used to go through before getting tested and treated for this sleep disorder.

A plastic sheet can save 70 000 lives a year — here’s how

Every year, about 14-million women lose so much blood during childbirth that they could die; about 70 000 do. The condition is called postpartum haemorrhage — but it can be prevented if nurses and midwives know what to look for and can act in time. Health workers from a hospital in Kenya write about how a new treatment approach has saved lives in their labour ward.

A budgetary tussle: Why the health department can’t employ these doctors — yet

South Africa has close to 700 medical doctors who haven’t been able to find a job in the public sector since qualifying. The shrinking health budget, coupled with rising salaries and high medical negligence claims, has meant that the department can’t afford to employ these professionals.

Can South Africa stop cervical cancer in the next 40 years?

About 10 000 women in South Africa get this cervical cancer every year. But it can be prevented by getting a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which causes this type of cancer. The government wants to wipe out cervical cancer by 2063 — like Australia is on track to do by 2030. Here’s how.

#LetsBhekisisaIt: The men who gained their voices

A decade ago our editor-in-chief wrote a story on the issue of botched circumcisions in the rural Eastern Cape. Through the help of translators, she managed to speak to some of the survivors and this resulted in high-level policy changes and a drama production. Watch more of this story.

Health Beat #15 | Sleepless in SA: Why bad sleep can cost you more...

Do you start your days feeling exhausted after going to bed early? You may have sleep apnoea, a condition where breathing stops for periods during sleep. This Health Beat episode shows how sleep disorders can affect your state of mind as well as your physical health, and experts tell us what can be done without expensive treatment.

A race to the bottom: Does SA’s new tobacco Bill have enough teeth to...

Tobacco ads have been banned in many countries for years, but Big Tobacco is finding ways to get around the rules — like partnering with Formula 1 to punt their new products to a global audience. Could South Africa’s new tobacco Bill put an end to racing on our screens?

Want to make sense of SA’s 2022 antenatal HIV survey? We’ve got you

Every second year, South Africa releases a national antenatal HIV survey, which looks at the proportion of pregnant women who are HIV-positive and have syphilis. In the first of a three-part series, we help you make sense of the survey’s results and what it means for the country’s HIV outlook.

How does anti-HIV medication work — and would you use it?

Implementation trials start early 2024 in South Africa to help researchers find out what will make people use a two-monthly anti-HIV jab. Linda-Gail Bekker of the University of Cape Town, heads up one of the studies and spoke to Mia Malan on Bhekisisa’s TV show, Health Beat.

Big hospital, big boss — Bara ICU’s Rudo Mathivha retires

In July, Rudo Mathivha handed in her notice at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, ending a rightly celebrated 25-year stint as head of the intensive care unit. It was after a truly terrible year. Her story underscores the extent to which quality healthcare for the country’s most vulnerable people remains at the mercy of the indifferent and the corrupt.

How taking ARVs daily stops those with HIV from transmitting the virus

Mapeseka Mabena has spent a decade getting her HIV patients to start and stay on treatment. Taking ARVs every day can be taxing, but Mabena motivates people with a reminder that meds can help them have HIV-free children and stop them passing on the virus through sex. She explains how in this video.