Home Opinion Page 2


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.

The forgotten form of TB that can carry on forever

Just like with COVID, there’s a long version of TB, called post-TB lung disease. This condition can emerge even after people with TB have finished their courses of treatment.

Why SA supermarkets should slash the price of these 10 foods by a fifth

The food industry will get a tax break to ease the effects of loadshedding on the cost of groceries. But there’s more that the industry can do to keep a basic basket of foods affordable, writes the head of the DG Murray Trust, David Harrison.

Poisoned production: The lead industry is booming – it’s just moved to poorer countries

The lead industry is funding researchers and United Nations bodies to paint its toxic products in a favourable light, says this expert, despite the evidence that lead exposure harms children’s development.

4 ways to make it easy to take the HIV prevention pill

The Aurum Institute is making it easier for people to access HIV prevention medication.Their project includes a screening tool and support groups, and has already reached over 100 000 people.

3 ways COVID sped up SA’s medicine approvals process — and how it can...

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) was forced to speed up its review of new medicines such as vaccines, while still ensuring that they were safe and effective.

Life Esidimeni should have fast-tracked – not frozen – SA’s mental health plans

The Life Esidimeni tragedy was the worst possible outcome for a move away from psychiatric care, but well-managed community-based mental health care is still a proven way to treat people’s mental illnesses with dignity.

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

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

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...

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

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

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

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...