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An overlooked workforce: How these mental health paramedics can ease depression & anxiety in...

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Millions of South Africans suffer from common mental health illnesses but don’t have access to psychologists or psychiatrists. Registered counsellors are trained to relieve this burden but they’re struggling to find work in the public sector. Here’s why.

How Rwanda could become one of the first countries to wipe out cervical cancer

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Tens of thousands of community health workers in Rwanda are driving a powerful vaccination programme in the country that could make the East African nation the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer.

What the field of psychology owes Black patients

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Psychological research has mostly focused on white people. New research shows, however, that mental health support works better when it’s adapted to suit people’s cultural context.

‘We take the fish out of the water’: Three myths about vasectomies – busted

A vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception for men. During this surgical procedure, the tubes that take sperm from the testicles to the glands that make semen are cut — in about the time of a lunch break.
Local school children. (David Lee)

This metal is destroying children’s brains — and SA has no plans to remove...

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Children who are exposed to lead — a metal found in certain paints and batteries — can face a series of problems as they grow up, ranging from heart problems to violent behaviour. While the government has introduced laws to combat lead exposure, experts worry that they aren’t effectively implemented or enforced.

A torchlight tragedy: Inside a Joburg emergency room during loadshedding

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In July, loadshedding left Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital without a CT scanner, a piece of equipment that could have helped a patient who had suffered a serious brain injury.

Is the future of SA’s TB plans locked up in the mysterious minds of...

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South Africa’s health facilities aren’t geared up to help teens with TB to complete their treatment. As a result, the preventable, treatable disease was the leading cause of death among adolescents in South Africa between 2008 and 2018.

The oldest trick in Big Tobacco’s playbook nearly derailed SA’s TB conference. Here’s why

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The Foundation for Professional Development, one of South Africa’s oldest nonprofits and the main sponsor of the TB conference in Durban, accepted a R2-million research grant from an organisation that’s widely regarded as a front group for Philip Morris International.

Will the UK’s new prime minister cut funds to this malaria jab?

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A malaria vaccine has passed the World Health Organisation’s efficacy rate of 75%. But if the United Kingdom’s new prime minister cuts foreign aid, the people who need the jab may never get it.

‘Call me Tumi’: Meet the young woman who heads SA’s medicines regulator

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Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela leads the country’s medicines regulator, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), a public entity few people knew about until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. COVID triggered a noisy scramble for vaccines, tests and treatments that needed to be approved — often embroiled in politics.

These gun laws saved 30 lives a month in two big cities. Here’s what...

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A recent spate of massacres has reignited the conversation about firearm control. It’s an emotional debate, but what does the evidence say about the kind of policies that work to prevent gun violence?

Myths, migrants, and who benefits from medical xenophobia

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Migrants are being blamed for South Africa’s struggling health system – again. But poor governance, and a shortage of staff and hospital beds are the real issue.

This three-legged potjie doesn’t wobble. NHI lessons for deep rural South Africa

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For years, this mother in the rural Eastern Cape had to travel across a river and walk for two hours to get to a clinic. Then, her community teamed up with a nonprofit and the provincial health department to change that. These days, the furthest she has to walk to get her newborn to a nurse is five minutes.

The minister & the metaphor: A patient’s guide to legal medicine imports

Medicines for some cancers and rare diseases will never be considered an “essential medicine”, which means the health department will never buy it for state facilities. Many patients have burned their hands trying to save money by importing such drugs illegally.

Dirty Sprite: The DIY high that keeps SA schoolchildren numb

Codeine is found in mild painkillers and cough syrups, and is sometimes mixed with Sprite or alcohol to make a drink called “lean”.

How do you stop a hospital heist? Appoint a plunder-proof board

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The way South Africa’s health sector is governed leaves hospitals exposed to corruption. Hospital chief executive officers are political appointments, and so are the people at the accountability bodies and regulators such as the Office of Health Standards Compliance that are set up to hold the executives responsible. Independent hospital boards must play this role instead, writes this expert.