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Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

A tale of two pandemics: Is COVID-19 repeating the mistakes of HIV’s past?

In South Africa, two outbreaks are colliding and one thing may shape the future of both.
Prophetess Odasani says she drives out the spirits afflicting women who come to her backstreet ‘church’ in Palermo.

‘Juju curse’ binds trafficked women into sex slavery

Traditional West African ‘healers’ and Sicilian psychiatrists are struggling to help free Nigerian women forced into prostitution.
Edith Kanengoni is a peer educator — one of 10 women recruited and trained by the House of Smiles to help other street mothers get medical help and improve their parenting skills.

Raising hope: From street child to mother

Abandoned as children, women in Harare are now teaching one another to fight for their futures.
Loud and clear: A billboard in Lilongwe

Malawi to halt prosecutions against LGBTI community

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Malawi says it will no longer enforce anti-homosexuality laws but dangerous homophobia persists on the country's streets - and in its clinics.

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

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Each year, millions will be bitten by venomous snakes and for many, antivenom will remain painfully out of reach. Discovering why is a tale...
We really might be able to teach an old dog new tricks.

Can you can turn yourself into a broccoli-loving, marathon-running genius?

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We used to believe our brains couldn’t be changed. Now we believe they can – if we want it enough. But is that true?

Why COVID school closures are making girls marry early

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The pandemic’s impact is long-term: the UN warns that it could lead to 13 million more child marriages over a decade.
The quest for a better life may be going virtual.

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

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Virtual reality isn’t just for video games anymore. It’s revolutionising medicine, including the way we manage pain.

Kids are having sex. We need to help teen moms, not punish them

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Otlotleng Moolikwe fell pregnant after having sex with her boyfriend when she was 13 years old. And she’s not the only one. One in six South African teenagers between 15 and 19 years old have had a child. Here’s how to help them stay in school.
Social media has become a breading ground for racism and other harmful behaviour.

Black? A woman? Read why you’re more likely to be a victim of online...

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Are social media algorithms designed to prey the mental health of women and people of colour?
Some lower functioning Care Haven Psychiatric Centre residents are guided through drawing and reading with a staff member as part of a daily programme to keep them active

The promise and peril of ditching South Africa’s psychiatric hospitals

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Community mentalhealth care can be better for patients and health systems if it's done right. Find out how one organisation is making it work.
Zimbabwean doctors went on strike in February for more money and more posts. In 2008

How to fund a failing health system

Could Zimbabwe's new Health Development Fund rescue the country's cash-strapped clinics and hospitals?
Rachel Daniel

‘I was married to a Boko Haram’: What happens when a victim returns to...

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Eighty two of the Chibok school girls, kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria three years ago, have been released. But what now?
From the informal market to booming business: Could this be the future of water?

Water in Ghana from pipe to packet: Is there a hidden cost to this...

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In a country where pipes can stop short of reaching home, cheap sachets of water sold on the street could be an unlikely solution, but at what cost?
Bianca Jonkers* was gang raped and the free Vimba! app puts helped her access counselling and care.

‘I would have killed myself’: Free app puts care at rape survivors’ fingertips

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In Diepsloot, Bhekisisa's Vimba! app is helping rape survivors access life-saving care and treatment.
A smoky Port Harcourt street. Doctors have warned of the health-related consequences of the city’s poisonous black soot.

Poisonous haze: Why the air we breathe could kill us

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Climate change and air pollution could be conspiring against the continent, and fuelling new levels of death and disease.