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Opinion pieces by Bhekisisa Contributors

How well is Pfizer’s COVID jab working in SA? We break down some of...

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A local analysis found promising protective effects of the Pfizer COVID vaccine — even among those who had only received one dose. The data from Discovery Health illustrates how vaccination can lower your risk of infection. But even with this promise, the variants circulating in South Africa means we shouldn’t abandon existing safety measures.

‘We only write about them when they are dead’: Hate killings of black lesbians...

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Nearly three decades after South Africa’s first Gay and Lesbian pride march, journalist and researcher Nechama Brodie takes a look at the violent history the country’s black lesbians have endured.

A false sense of safety? Why ending the COVID pandemic doesn’t stop with vaccines

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The world was able to develop COVID-19 vaccines in just over a year. But much more needs to be done before we can end the pandemic.

The Sisonke trial rewrote history. Eight lessons for the nationwide vaccine roll-out

Usually, the gap between designing a study and scaling it up to reach people on the ground takes years. Sisonke did it in a matter of 17 days – and rewrote history.

Finding an HIV vaccine: Five lessons from the search for a COVID jab

The COVID pandemic has revealed that vaccine development and testing timelines can be shrunk from decades to months. But not without its shortcomings. Here’s a look at what lessons we can learn from the search for a COVID jab.

Winning the COVID vaccine race: Why the TRIPS waiver is just the beginning

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Waiving COVID vaccine intellectual property rights is a start, but ending the pandemic also requires that drug companies share the know-how of how to produce their jabs and that more countries develop the capacity to produce shots.

Rape, time & place: How to understand SA’s geography of violence

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Simply identifying hotspots doesn’t explain why some places report more gender-based violence than others. This limits our understanding of the problem, and our ability to find a solution.
We can get polio out of Africa this year and out of every country in the world in the next several years, say Bill and Melinda Gates.

Four factors blocking medicines made in Africa

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Setting up a continent-wide medicines regulator in Africa could be key to getting the continent’s people the treatments and COVID vaccines they need. Here’s why more countries need to put their weight behind it.

We say goodbye to South Africa's 'people's doctor', Sindi van Zyl

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South Africa lost one of its most prominent HIV doctors, Sindisiwe Van Zyl this weekend due to COVID-related complications. She’ll be remembered for her ability to make HIV and reproductive health knowledge accessible to her hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.

‘No respecter of persons’: Why COVID-19 variants don’t recognise vaccine passports

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As long as the coronavirus is still circulating in many parts of the world, mutations will continue to occur. This means that herd immunity in any individual country may be thwarted by new variants that can bypass the protections offered by current vaccines. Here’s why worldwide vaccination needs to happen as quickly as possible.

Vaccine misinformation: What to do when it’s coming from leaders

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Refuting lies about vaccines peddled by those in leadership positions may be less about trying to change their minds and more about protecting those who might be listening.

Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first in South Africa?

Now that the world has its first effective COVID jabs, the next challenge we have to tackle is who gets them? Here’s why the public could be key to answering this complex question in South Africa.

SA & India took a stand for COVID-19 patients everywhere. Here’s why African leaders...

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Developing nations have the capacity to scale up their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic but they're continually hamstrung by barriers set up by Big Pharma.

Rape increases your long-term risk of contracting HIV. Here’s what could fix that

Trauma care for rape survivors in South Africa has been crucially underfunded — and now there’s evidence of the HIV-related consequences.

Madness in the method: Why government’s GBV ‘hot spots’ are really ‘not spots’

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The police recently announced 30 gender-based violence hot spots to which additional resources will be directed to address violence against women. But the methods they used to identify these areas are flawed —and the hot spots might be elsewhere.
[WATCH] Busted: Three myths about drug addiction

A safe retreat from the war on drugs

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The threat of punishment and discrimination doesn’t drive people to quit or avoid drugs, but rather to hide their use, including from their doctors. There is a better way, and jurisdictions like the US state of Oregon may have found it.