News and analysis

The health department’s NHI branch appoints two new chief directors. Here’s what you need...

The appointments for the heads of two more of the five directorates of the National Health Insurance (NHI) were approved on Monday. These two positions will oversee user and service provider management and healthcare benefits and provider payment design. In the latest episode of Bhekisisa’s monthly TV show, Health Beat, Mia Malan asked the health department’s Nicholas Crisp and Sasha Stevenson from Section27 how the NHI will play out.

Can taking two pills a week slow down TB in South Africa? There’s a...

Not only does South Africa have one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world, the disease is also the country’s number one killer. With the country’s new national guidelines, more people will be able to get pills to prevent TB, which is part of the government’s plan to curb infections.

A period is not a shame — yet these women were humiliated for it

Police arrested three senior staff members of a food company in Kenya who strip-searched workers to find out who put a sanitary towel into the wrong bin. Activists say period shaming should stop.

What’s happening with HIV numbers?

The United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids, UNAids, has released its latest HIV figures. Fewer people got infected with HIV in 2022 than...

The eerily sophisticated system behind selling human organs

Selling human organs illegally involves everything from trafficking to people trading their kidneys or part of their livers voluntarily. The World Health Organisation says only 10% of people needing organ transplants get them.

On our mind: Could getting hit on the head during sport cause brain disease...

Head injuries from sport could be linked with someone developing brain disease later, says new guidance from experts. They’re calling for more time during games for players to be checked thoroughly — which could mean rules of play may have to change.

Should the state hire SA’s field health workers permanently? Unions and the health department...

The government is currently looking at giving community health workers a minimum wage and setting working conditions. While unions have rejected this process, Nicholas Crisp, head of the NHI, says it may be a better solution to these workers’ employment problems than having permanent government positions.

Not going to school makes kids sad: How COVID lockdowns affected teens’ state of...

Teenagers’ brains are primed for connecting with friends. But being isolated during COVID gave many’s mental health a knock. With up to 20% of kids likely to develop a mental health problem and only one in 10 able to get support, simply being in school can help.

How the health department plans to stop discrimination in clinics

How does the health department deal with doctors and nurses discriminating against patients who have a higher chance of contracting HIV? Teaching them about being sensitive and trying to understand the cause of the issue, says Thato Chidarikire, acting head of HIV programmes at the department. Mia Malan found out more during this interview for Bhekisisa’s monthly TV show, Health Beat.

Is there cholera in my water?

Tests done on water taken downstream of a manhole from which sewage leaks into the Vaal River came back positive for cholera.South Africa’s drinking...

Mpumalanga reports its first cholera case — and death

Health Minister Joe Phaahla says South Africa's cholera cases have decreased significantly over the past week, particularly in Hammanskraal near Tshwane, where 23 people have died of cholera.

The poison peaks of Dandora: Why plastic bag bans aren’t enough to cut pollution...

Kenya banned single-use plastic bags in 2017, but Nairobi’s waste collectors are still inundated with plastic. Can a new law pin responsibility on the manufacturers?

The skinny on Ozempic: Why it can help with weight loss — but not...

Bloating, belching and diarrhoea are just some of the side effects that come with using Semaglutide (Ozempic) for weight loss. Learn what doctors can do to help their patients here.
Heroin withdrawals: Could this drug be the answer?

Five steps in five years. A to-do list to help SA kick its heroin...

South Africa plans to make opioid substitutes such as methadone available at all state clinics and hospitals over the next five years. Methadone helps wean people off drugs such as heroin. Here are the five things the government needs to do to get this right.

A rehydration robot, a pinch test & more: Tips to help health workers spot...

Follow our live coverage of the health department’s 23 May briefing on South Africa’s cholera outbreak.

Stricter rules: Why better food regulations will help us fight obesity

Health problems linked to obesity — such as diabetes or heart disease — cost South Africa’s public health system up to R36 billion in 2020. In the latest episode of Bhekisisa’s monthly TV show, Health Beat, Mia Malan spoke to public health researcher Susan Goldstein about how regulations about how foods are sold can help to prevent obesity.