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Is it cheers to saying cheers? Why science says no to drinking alcohol

Thirty years ago, having a drink or two every day was thought to be good for your heart — thanks in part to the so-called French paradox. But research now shows that even a little alcohol can up the chance of developing some types of cancer.

A budgetary tussle: Why the health department can’t employ these doctors — yet

South Africa has close to 700 medical doctors who haven’t been able to find a job in the public sector since qualifying. The shrinking health budget, coupled with rising salaries and high medical negligence claims, has meant that the department can’t afford to employ these professionals.

Can South Africa stop cervical cancer in the next 40 years?

About 10 000 women in South Africa get this cervical cancer every year. But it can be prevented by getting a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which causes this type of cancer. The government wants to wipe out cervical cancer by 2063 — like Australia is on track to do by 2030. Here’s how.

A race to the bottom: Does SA’s new tobacco Bill have enough teeth to...

Tobacco ads have been banned in many countries for years, but Big Tobacco is finding ways to get around the rules — like partnering with Formula 1 to punt their new products to a global audience. Could South Africa’s new tobacco Bill put an end to racing on our screens?

Big hospital, big boss — Bara ICU’s Rudo Mathivha retires

In July, Rudo Mathivha handed in her notice at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, ending a rightly celebrated 25-year stint as head of the intensive care unit. It was after a truly terrible year. Her story underscores the extent to which quality healthcare for the country’s most vulnerable people remains at the mercy of the indifferent and the corrupt.

Our most-read stories of 2023

Before the festive season kicks off, take a look at Bhekisisa’s most-read stories of 2023.

Taken by storm: Why climate change will make transactional sex more common

Researchers say transactional sex will become more common because of a rise in climate change-related droughts and floods. Droughts and floods cause financial hardship, and therefore increase the market for sex in exchange for rewards.

No patient left behind? How national treasury’s budget cuts will affect comm serve posts

Budget cuts to the provincial departments will leave close to 200 health science graduates without spots for their community service. The knock-on effect will be that fewer people who use state hospitals will have access to health services like dentists and physiotherapists.

How to get meds to Africa faster — and safer

South Africa’s medicines regulator is helping to process pharmaceutical companies’ applications for medicines to be approved by the African Medicines Agency. But the country won’t have a say in the appointment of the agency’s head because it hasn’t yet ratified the treaty for its establishment.

#COP28: The spread of HIV has slowed down over the past 30 years. Will...

Experts at COP28 have warned that the climate crisis threatens to put us back in the fight against HIV. Floods and droughts will make it harder to adhere to daily treatment and to access HIV prevention medication, and will increase the demand for transactional sex.

#COP28: ‘You’re negotiating with our health’ — WHO

Health is high on this year’s COP28 agenda, with 65 health ministers attending the world’s most important climate conference. The World Health Organisation is pushing for ministers to get their governments to endorse a declaration that asks countries to commit to deal with the effects of changing weather patterns on people’s health.

Why climate change makes pollution and lung diseases worse

Dirty air makes it hard to breathe. Add hotter days or extreme cold into the mix and it will become harder still, especially for people who already have lung problems. In the latest episode of Health Beat, Mia Malan spoke to Caradee Wright, a public health specialist at the Medical Research Council, about what climate change will mean for people who already struggle to breathe, and what can be done about it.

From start to finish: Five lessons for making mRNA jabs

The global rise in tuberculosis cases is showing no signs of slowing down. The need for a new vaccine is as urgent as ever, and now a local pharmaceutical company is joining the race to find one. Find out more about the work they did to propel themselves into this position.

Slash the price by three-quarters — government on anti-HIV jab

The health department says ViiV Healthcare’s non-profit price for their anti-HIV jab, CAB-LA, is four times what it can pay. In 2022, just over 164 200 people in South Africa became newly infected with HIV. Can we afford to go without the shot?

Can we stop TB from killing people? The world’s largest gathering kicks off

In Paris today, experts on lung health from across the globe are coming together at The Union’s World Conference on Lung Health to talk about how TB research can help to thwart one of the planet’s top killers. We’ve put together a collection of our most recent coverage on TB to help you be part of the conversation

Dirty air & diabetes: Scientists say there’s a link

A seven-year study across 12 000 people in two Indian cities shows that breathing in dirty city air for as little as one month can raise blood sugar levels. After a year of this, people have a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes.