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Short Form

Short Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

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”.

Naeemah Abrahams and the secret to defeating evil – do something

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In the hospitals of 1980s South Africa, Naeemah Abrahams saw how often women showed up battered and bruised, a phenomenon her colleagues didn’t make much of. Three decades later, she’s one of the researchers turning the tide on gender-based violence.

Tongues & other taboos: Why queer sex ed is good for everyone

Lesbian teenagers have a lower chance of getting a sexually transmitted infection, but the threat remains. Even though South Africa’s sex education curriculum includes all the right lessons to help pupils of all sexual identities have safe sex in theory, the information that filters through to them is still up to individual teachers.

“I thought it’s just what fathers do.” How sex ed can tackle child abuse

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Thousands of children are abused by someone close to them but are unable to report it, because they’re either too scared or don’t realise they’re being abused. Here’s how training teachers to provide proper sex education can help them.

Hell is 16 000 unanswered telephones. The low tech problem blocking abortions

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Abortion services only got a national “how to” document for doctors 23 years after termination of pregnancy was legalised in South Africa. And while the new rules go a long way to remove barriers to ending a pregnancy, non-profits say crucial information such as a simple list of telephone numbers is still lacking.

Need an abortion? Find clinics you can trust here

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This database shows you where you can find safe family planning services near you. It’s verified two to four times a year by a dedicated team of data capturers and ‘secret shopper’ callers.

Farmers vs. pharmacists: How South Africa’s ivermectin use slips through the cracks

There’s less demand for human ivermectin in South Africa when the country is in between COVID waves. But nobody is tracking how many people may be using the animal formulation.

[PHOTOS]: ‘We need staff, psychological help’: Go inside a Gauteng COVID ICU fighting the...

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Driven by a more infectious new COVID variant, the second wave of South Africa’s coronavirus pandemic has seen considerably more infections than the first wave. This meant health workers have had to deal with more hospitalisations and deaths — and pressure. Bhekisisa visited George Mukhari Academic Hospital north of Tshwane to document the second wave realities experienced by doctors and nurses.

Sexual violence and unintended pregnancy in South Africa: Is there a link?

A study among adolescents and young women in South African universities found that girls who had experienced sexual violence were more likely to report...

‘I had to kill so many people’: The battle to protect children in conflicts

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25,000 grave violations were committed against children in conflict in 2019, says the UN, which hopes to highlight issue with new international day.

Behind the masks: Meet the people who keep Gauteng’s field hospital going

Get to know the cleaners, plumbers and therapists who work at the Nasrec field hospital. Plus, find out what happens to newspapers, food, and medical...
Protesting journalists

India arrests dozens of journalists in clampdown on critics of COVID-19 response

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Reporters for independent outlets, many in rural areas, say pressure won’t deter them from covering embarrassing stories Facing a continuing upward trajectory in COVID-19 cases,...

How to save a life: Easing grief from inside COVID ICUs

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An app, a few volunteers, and buy-in from doctors can make the frontlines a kinder place for patients, staff, and families. Editor's note:...

Why #COVID19 anti-corruption campaigns could make people more likely to pay bribes

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa was clear: COVID-19 funds have been stolen and misused, food parcels have been diverted from households in need and...

‘No bed for people like me’: When the old are left to die

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Despite clear evidence they are most at risk, older people are seen as dispensable as younger patients are prioritised in the fight against COVID-19...

The gravediggers of Kano: Why doctors and diggers alike face grim choices in this...

This country has more than 200-million people, so why has it only logged 22 000 coronavirus tests? Musa Abubakar used to dig two or three...