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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.


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

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

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

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?

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

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 

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?

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.

Find inner joy: Why this condom can take your sexual pleasure to new heights

The health department aims to distribute 40-million inner condoms per year to government health facilities. But orders from clinics and hospitals are so low that only 40% of this goal was achieved over the past four years. Here’s why.

Mia Malan: Eight lessons COVID taught me about journalism

During a crisis such as the COVID pandemic, people have simple demands of the media: how to protect themselves, which government rules they have to follow, and what the future holds. Mia Malan gives eight lessons COVID holds for newsrooms.

#AIDS2022: What is the use of anti-HIV injections when those who need it most...

A new HIV prevention medicine could work even better than daily pills but if nothing changes it costs over R300 000 to treat one person for a year.
Medical student Inati Mcapazeli studies a chest x-ray at Cape Town’s Brooklyn Chest Hospital on World TB Day 2012.

Tackling TB: Three lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught us

COVID-19 came with a lot of collateral damage that the world was unprepared for. Part of the pandemic ripple effect meant people weren’t able to access tuberculosis testing or treatment, derailing targets to end the disease. But there are also lessons to be learned along the way.

The joke’s on us, South Africa. The cruel logic of Omicron travel bans –...

Wealthy nations were quick to ban southern African nations from entering their borders when the Omicron variant was identified – but not against each other. Unfortunately, this type of discrimination is nothing new.