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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.

Our most-read stories of 2023

Before the festive season kicks off, take a look at Bhekisisa’s most-read stories of 2023.

Taken by storm: Why climate change will make transactional sex more common

Researchers say transactional sex will become more common because of a rise in climate change-related droughts and floods. Droughts and floods cause financial hardship, and therefore increase the market for sex in exchange for rewards.

No patient left behind? How national treasury’s budget cuts will affect comm serve posts

Budget cuts to the provincial departments will leave close to 200 health science graduates without spots for their community service. The knock-on effect will be that fewer people who use state hospitals will have access to health services like dentists and physiotherapists.

How to get meds to Africa faster — and safer

South Africa’s medicines regulator is helping to process pharmaceutical companies’ applications for medicines to be approved by the African Medicines Agency. But the country won’t have a say in the appointment of the agency’s head because it hasn’t yet ratified the treaty for its establishment.

[WATCH] Why these three women use the anti-HIV pill and vaginal ring

Around 500 people in South Africa get infected with HIV each day. A number that Mbali Jonas from the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation wants to reduce to zero. They’re doing this by telling youth about medications that can stop HIV infection. We take you to their communities and show you how they work.

Leveraging South Africa’s maturity level 3 to strengthen regulatory systems in the Africa region:...

The establishment of the African Medicines Agency will significantly contribute to the improvement of healthcare delivery across the continent and better overall health of...