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Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

Life on a hotter earth: Depression, drought & decolonising mental health

As the climate crisis worsens, arid parts of South Africa are expected to get even hotter and even more water-scarce. In...

Cobras & cures: Why the world is running chronically low on snake antivenom

Each year, millions will be bitten by venomous snakes and for many, antivenom will remain painfully out of reach. Discovering why...

The magistrate’s tail: How these pets are helping child rape victims get justice

The testimony of his eight-year-old victim may put convicted rapist Nicolas Ninow away for life. Ninow was convicted of rape on...
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize

The National Health Insurance: Can Zweli Mkhize pull this off?

Can the health minister fix our health system and what will it take? Here’s what Mkhize’s character, views and his past...
Man walking on a dirt road in Togo.

Doing the ‘tramadol dance’: What this latest music craze says about Africa’s pill addiction

The illicit trade in this prescription pain killer has become the stuff of ballads and dance halls but its abuse is...
Most medical aids won't cover a new

The WHO, the drug & women’s right to choose: The story behind dolutegravir

Take a look at the newest HIV treatment set to hit South Africa's shores in 2019.
A teenager receives a vaccination

How this country is beating anti-vaxxers at their own game

One in three French people think vaccines are unsafe, yet vaccine coverage in the country is rising. Here’s how they do...
Man in Ebola protection suit.

‘Most complex health crisis in history’: Congo struggles to contain Ebola

Political, security and cultural complications – not least a refusal to believe that Ebola exists – have thwarted efforts to overcome...
What happens when anesthesia works as well as it should?

This is what it’s like waking up during surgery

General anaesthetic is supposed to make surgery painless. Now there’s evidence that one person in 20 may be awake when doctors think they’re under.
Sold on the idea: Asiphe Ntshongontshi used the family calendar to keep track of when she took the HIV prevention pill. She lives in Masiphumelele outside Cape Town close to a youth centre and clinic that dish out the tablet.

One she called the ‘minister of love’. The other? He was the ‘minister of...

Since the country’s rollout, less than a quarter of people who’ve started taking the HIV prevention pill are young women — despite high HIV rates.
TB remains a leading cause of death in South Africa.

Anyone can catch this drug-resistant bug. Surviving treatment is another story.

For years, catching this drug-resistant bacteria meant painful treatment that risked your hearing and mental health. Now, that could be changing.
Tender delays have pushed a shortage of the popular birth control shot Nur-Isterate into its second year.

This popular birth control shot is out of stock for the second year running....

Women who have been forced to go without their usual birth control shot are now facing the consequences of months-long shortages.
Blood cancer patients such as Retha Wessels are forced to get a life-saving drug illegally to avoid paying thousands for it each month.

He would ransom the pills for something more precious than profit: His wife’s life

When a few months of treatment costs as much as a house, some patients are taking their lives and the law into their own hands to survive.

Bosasa, Gavin Watson & the human cost of corruption

Bosasa bribed its way into contracts. Meet the four-year-old who paid the price.
The quest for a better life may be going virtual.

Gaming medicine: Virtual reality is bringing real-time relief for chronic pain

Virtual reality isn’t just for video games anymore. It’s revolutionising medicine, including the way we manage pain.
A mother delivers via C-section in Mozambique. In South Africa

A changing birth: What’s behind SA’s skyrocketing c-section rates?

Almost one in four babies born at public hospitals come into the world via c-section but is it costing some women their lives?