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Opinion pieces by Bhekisisa Contributors

Most South Africans have the TB germ - so why aren't they sick?

Has our COVID fight crippled our efforts to fight HIV and TB?

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During the HIV pandemic, doctors were traumatised by the government’s indifference towards patients’ lack of access to treatment. In the case of COVID-19, some physicians say, they have to cope with the devastating consequences of most of the country’s health resources having been allocated to one disease.

Pills and phone calls: How COVID restrictions forced us to conduct abortions telephonically

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COVID-19 forced many people’s jobs online – even for doctors who provide abortions. Read what Marie Stopes learned when they helped nearly 50 patients terminate pregnancies over the phone.

Why COVID-19 vaccines need to prioritise ‘superspreaders’

Controlling the spread of COVID-19 among the young may be a better way to protect the old, these experts argue COMMENT Once safe and effective COVID-19...

This agreement could be South Africa’s answer for an affordable COVID-19 vaccine. But there’s...

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When COVID-19 vaccines come onto the market, poorer countries will have to compete with wealthier ones, who can pay more, for access. Will it help if lower and middle-income countries pool their funds and order vaccines in bulk?

The beauty politic: South Africa’s long and complicated history with skin lighteners

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Today, South Africa remains the only country in the world to prohibit all cosmetic claims to skin bleaching, lightening or whitening — and we have a blend of Black Consciousness and science to thank for it. But regulation hasn’t totally snuffed out demand for dangerous creams containing toxic chemicals.

Unbanning booze sales: Did we do it the right way?

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You can now have a beer at a pub each day of the week. There are no limits to how much you can drink...

The preventable trauma of COVID childbirth

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A new global investigation has documented, in at least 45 countries, “shocking” and “unnecessary” breaches of laws and World Health Organisation guidelines intended to...

COVID-19 has changed the way South Africa’s only toll-free mental health helpline works. Here’s...

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When COVID-19 hit, South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) helplines were flooded with calls. But the outbreak changed more than call volumes, it changed the way SADAG worked. Could the lessons it learned shape the future of mental healthcare in South Africa?

Scientists are working to fast-forward COVID-19 research, but not at the expense of ethics

Two-dozen experimental COVID-19 vaccines are now in human clinical trials, according to the World Health Organisation. It usually takes more than a decade to develop a new vaccine — but just because we’re expediting research to curb the new coronavirus doesn’t mean we can leave communities behind.

‘Academic boys’ to ‘sex jaros’: What it means to be a Black boy in...

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Toxic masculinities help drive everything from HIV infection rates to gender-based violence. But before we ask, what does it mean to be a ‘man’ in South Africa, should we wonder what it’s like to be a boy?

COVID-19 is killing private medical practices. Here’s how to save them

As cases of COVID-19 mount, people are steering clear of clinics and doctors are forced to postpone surgeries to free up beds. If something isn’t done now, there’s slim chance private doctors will have the ability to volunteer for the national response because their jobs — and those of their staff – won’t survive the pandemic.

How wearing a mask can slash COVID-19 deaths

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The more people wear masks, the safer everyone will be, shows this modelling study. COMMENT With the advent of an infectious disease outbreak, epidemiologists...
The LAM urine test allows doctors to diagnose a seriously ill HIV patient with tuberculosis in just 25 minutes. No special laboratories or technicians are required to administer the test

In epidemics, our health facilities can become hotspots. Here’s what to do about it.

Two epidemics, two diseases, 200 kilometres and almost 20 years apart. Find out what they have in common. COMMENT The latest coronavirus may be new to...
Thermal screening

The dubious value of fever screening: Why measuring for surface temperature won’t help curb...

Apart from being unreliable, fever screening can create a false sense of security and pose an infection risk to thermometer operators. Comment As lockdowns are lifted,...

Old lessons, new pandemic: ‘We showed up to do COVID-19 testing & communities told...

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What happens to HIV prevention programmes during the coronavirus pandemic? Take a look at how South African projects went from performing medical male circumcisions...

Folly and fortitude: What sets good and bad leaders apart in the COVID-19 era?

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A country's coronavirus response is only as good as its president, writes Lawrence Hamilton. So how does South Africa's head of state Cyril Ramaphosa...