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Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

Many women mistakenly believe that mastectomy is the only or the safest way of dealing with their cancer.

‘Cancer I could deal with. Losing my breast I could not.’

For those with breast cancer, a mastectomy may seem like the best option. But Joanna Moorhead is glad she chose less extensive surgery.

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.

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...
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.
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

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?
Dire working conditions pit doctors' rights against those of patients

Will strikes pit the rights of doctors against those of their patients?

The quest for better working conditions leaves striking doctors with a tough decision but they might not have to choose.
'I could have died': Buhle Bhengu was duped into having an illegal abortion.

‘It didn’t take long for [the fetus] to come out. There was a human-like...

Left with little choice, many women turn to illegal abortionists to terminate their pregnancies.
A pack-a-day smoking habit during pregnancy will reduce a baby's birth weight by an average of 230g

‘I saw the world through the blurry lens of an oxygen tent’

With the severe effects of the habit on the unborn child now widely known, why do pregnant mothers refuse to give up?
End of the road: Ntombizodwa Matthews was wheeled put of Mafikeng Provincial Hospital in April because the facility had no staff to care for her. A month later she was buried.

Who killed Ntombizodwa Matthews? Politics, protest & corruption in the North West

A month after she was wheeled out of a North West hospital in a barrow, Ntombizodwa Matthews met her end. Her family blames politics for her death.
We really might be able to teach an old dog new tricks.

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

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

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

Eighty two of the Chibok school girls, kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria three years ago, have been released. But what now?
In 1992

This country figured out how to stop teen substance abuse, so why has no...

Find out which nordic nation radically cut teenage smoking, drinking and drug use and how they did it.
Lesotho netcare hospital

Why the public-private partnership to build Lesotho’s only specialist hospital floundered

It was hailed as a revolution in private investment in healthcare in Africa but almost a decade after it was opened,...
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.
Many school learners can’t afford sanitary pads. But an organisation in Rwanda is working with the country’s banana farmers to change this.

What do your period and bananas have in common? Find out

In Rwanda, schoolgirls can now buy locally produced, cheaper sanitary towels