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Short Form

Short Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

Grandmothers working with the Friendship Bench project chat before counselling sessions begin.

Curbside counselling? These ‘friendship benches’ bring mental health closer to home

One in four Zimbabweans suffers from mental illness, but untrained female health workers are setting a new benchmark for the treatment of patients.
Health worker Jackline Atieno has vaccinated more babies under the age of one year since the Masogo Health Centre started sending SMS reminders to parents and caregivers.

Paying for change? Trial offers cash to parents willing to vaccinate babies

Researchers have shown that monetary incentives lead to infants being immunised on time.
Pregnant woman

Solar power, text messages fight maternal deaths in rural Cameroon

Solar power, solar electricity and mobile technology are helping to reduce the rate of maternal mortality in Cameroon.
(Madelene Cronje)

How one project is finally helping reduce the risk of suicide among teens

When kids at risk of suicide can talk to trained friends & family, they're seven times less likely to die, says one...

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

Despite clear evidence they are most at risk, older people are seen as dispensable as younger patients are prioritised in the...
Topvein was marketed as a cure for AIDS

A roundup of fake AIDS ‘cures’: Angel Zapper, Garani MW1, Topvein, SF 2000

Fake AIDS "cures" have been the bane of activists fighting for treatment. We discovered a new one and checked in on some we've debunked before.
Silent killer: consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.

Unearthing the salt hidden in your diet

Some of your favourite comfort food could be concealing a killer.

Skeletons and closets: How one university reburied the dead

In the 1920s, a Northern Cape farmer dug up some of the remains of previous workers — some of whom had...
Sister Anna's work relies on donations from well-wishers and her Franciscan community back home

Nursing the hungry: How one Catholic nun has taken Malawi’s prisoners under her wing

As humanitarian organisations sound the alarm over high malnutrition rates among Malawi's prisoners, one woman is trying to help keep inmates alive.
A medical scientist at the NICD prepares listeria samples for DNA sampling.

2018: The best, the worst and the weird

You made it through the year. Kick back, relax and take a read through the 2018 that was.
In Central African Republic

‘I was kicked out of our house by his parents’, say widows

If a man dies in the Central African Republic, his wife is at risk of being evicted from their home by his relatives.

When there was no list of free abortion clinics, we made our own. Here’s...

How we found the country's 'missing' abortion providers – and mapped contraception services too.
Most South Africans have the TB germ - so why aren't they sick?

Finding South Africa’s missing TB patients

For many tuberculosis (TB) patients, the road to a cure begins with a simple test.

Crickets, beetles and moths. Eating them could help save the planet. But would you...

Farming insects requires less water than cattle rearing and they emit fewer greenhouse gases. Here’s why you should make them part...
Graffiti on a wall in Diepsloot where a penis is likened to an AK47. The Sonke Change found that men are about three times more likely to rape or beat a woman if they are a problem drinker.

Nine factors that make a man more likely to rape or beat a woman

Men who abuse women have often been victims of maltreatment themselves resulting to the intergenerational cycling of abuse.
Spoilt for choice: The department of health plans to distribute a billion new Max condoms throughout South Africa.

Silky strawberry is the best condom fit for South Africans

After three years of deliberation and research, the South African health department launches flavoured condoms.