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The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bhekisisa is one of only a few media outlets in the Global South specialising in solutions-based narrative features and analysis. We not only uncover problems but also critically evaluate the solutions meant to fix them. It’s an approach we also take with our opinion pieces.

What makes a good op-ed? What can I expect from the editing process? Who do I pitch a possible opinion piece to? Get the answers to all these questions along with some handy writing tips here before you make a submission.

Pushing up daisies – by becoming compost? How you can choose a greener death

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Mainstream methods of burial need to be left in the past as they take a toll on climate change. According to researchers, leaving the body to naturally break down its organic matter until a heap of soil is all that’s left, should be more accessible.

A plea to parents: Listen to trans kids, not moral panics

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The moral panic arising from unproven concepts such as rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) has made trans lives unliveable. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, ROGD has bolstered claims that coming out as trans during adolescence is a sudden unhappiness about your birth-assigned gender brought on by a social trend.

‘Add human rights defender to your resume’: How Tlaleng Mofokeng uses medicine to treat...

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When doctors treat women as people, rather than a collection of organs and ailments, the practice of medicine can be a powerful tool to restore people’s dignity.

What the field of psychology owes Black patients

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Psychological research has mostly focused on white people. New research shows, however, that mental health support works better when it’s adapted to suit people’s cultural context.

The oldest trick in Big Tobacco’s playbook nearly derailed SA’s TB conference. Here’s why

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The Foundation for Professional Development, one of South Africa’s oldest nonprofits and the main sponsor of the TB conference in Durban, accepted a R2-million research grant from an organisation that’s widely regarded as a front group for Philip Morris International.

This three-legged potjie doesn’t wobble. NHI lessons for deep rural South Africa

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For years, this mother in the rural Eastern Cape had to travel across a river and walk for two hours to get to a clinic. Then, her community teamed up with a nonprofit and the provincial health department to change that. These days, the furthest she has to walk to get her newborn to a nurse is five minutes.

The minister & the metaphor: A patient’s guide to legal medicine imports

Medicines for some cancers and rare diseases will never be considered an “essential medicine”, which means the health department will never buy it for state facilities. Many patients have burned their hands trying to save money by importing such drugs illegally.

How do you stop a hospital heist? Appoint a plunder-proof board

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The way South Africa’s health sector is governed leaves hospitals exposed to corruption. Hospital chief executive officers are political appointments, and so are the people at the accountability bodies and regulators such as the Office of Health Standards Compliance that are set up to hold the executives responsible. Independent hospital boards must play this role instead, writes this expert.

A junior doctor’s battle to keep death at bay for state patients

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One in four South African medical students show signs of depression, and most doctors are at risk of burning out. Read about one state doctor’s road to hell and back again.

Why doesn’t SA use this bargaining chip when it makes deals with drugmakers?

A two-monthy HIV prevention injection could be too expensive for the department of health to buy even though the country participated in drug trials...

Would you screen yourself for cervical cancer at home?

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When South Africa introduced self-tests for HIV, far more people knew their status and were put on treatment. The same could happen for cervical cancer, argues this cancer advocate, and the country already has the networks, testing capacity and funding in place to make a project like this work.

The cruel collusion that devastates young doctors learning how to deliver babies

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Health workers-in-training say they feel forced to abuse birthing patients as part of a dark rite of passage on the road to becoming a doctor or midwife. This final year medical student explains how these experiences can shape the country’s future doctors.

Karoo dust, diet & diabetes: Why ‘lifestyle disease’ is an unfair label 

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Diabetes is different from other non-communicable diseases, this author says. It can’t be spread in a literal sense — instead, it is often forced upon people by factors beyond their control. What happens when you have no say on your genetics or all you can afford is processed food?

Inequality kills: How race, money and power affect who survives COVID

The data from 440 000 COVID patients reveal that non-white people in South Africa were far more likely to die than their white counterparts. These researchers argue it’s not about genetics or biology.

A sarmie, a sweet and a cigarette? How to make sure Africa doesn’t become...

Smoking in the west is declining. So the tobacco industry is looking to untapped markets in lower-income countries to hook new smokers.

Could nurses track domestic violence from stomach pains and headaches?

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The government had a plan to build domestic violence care into clinic services more than two decades ago – nothing ever came of it. Researcher Lisa Vetten argues it’s not too late to bring the long forgotten project back to life.