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Short Form

Short Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

‘They will buy me a meal for my children’: Why SA women turned to...

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Many women in South Africa resorted to sex work in order to survive the COVID recession. Male “blessers” were happy to pay, contributing to the spread of HIV.

#COP27: These KZN flood victims’ fates were sealed years ago

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Nokwazi Mbambo watched her life wash away in April, and little has changed 6 months later. Read more on how the climate change induced floods that destroyed her home.

How these pupils from SA’s poorest schools became doctors

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The Umthombo Youth Development Foundation provides bursaries and mentorship to health science students from poor, rural backgrounds. Despite humble beginnings, these students are achieving exceptionally high pass rates. Here’s why.

How Rwanda could become one of the first countries to wipe out cervical cancer

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Tens of thousands of community health workers in Rwanda are driving a powerful vaccination programme in the country that could make the East African nation the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer.

‘We take the fish out of the water’: Three myths about vasectomies – busted

A vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception for men. During this surgical procedure, the tubes that take sperm from the testicles to the glands that make semen are cut — in about the time of a lunch break.

‘Call me Tumi’: Meet the young woman who heads SA’s medicines regulator

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Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela leads the country’s medicines regulator, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), a public entity few people knew about until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. COVID triggered a noisy scramble for vaccines, tests and treatments that needed to be approved — often embroiled in politics.

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.