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Opinion

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 struggle to survive bringing a new life into the world is still so real for South African women.

‘HIV testing was compulsory. If you didn’t test, they wouldn’t treat you’

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The struggle to survive pregnancy and death in a land of plenty and poverty hasn’t changed much in the past five years — there are lives to prove it.

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.
Patients' removal from the hospital was opposed at every step by activists and families

Life Esidimeni patient deaths are a wake up call that came too late

The callous disregard shown at many levels for the wellbeing of vulnerable people proved fatal.
Lake Chad

Is one of Africa’s most important lakes really shrinking?

Our two-year study shows the lake has been stable since the 1990s. Costly ‘solutions’ shift focus from the complex causes of the region’s deadly...
Read an excerpt from Helena Dolny's book on death

How a better death starts long before we’re dying

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When one man was on his deathbed, his family knew how he wanted to die and could respect that.

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.
Ask a different question and you may get a different answer: New research finds that the way in which you ask about disability may determine national statistics

Service delivery starts with data. See who’s been missing from the spreadsheets

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Without accurate data, maginalised groups risk being left behind - again.
National guidelines say babies should get nothing but their mother’s milk for the first six months of life. But fewer than one in 10 women makes it to six months.

‘I thought I’d breastfeed my baby for a year. That dream was short-lived’

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We tell moms to exclusively breastfeed. But we don’t tell them about all the things that get in the way of that, including depression.
(Baz Ratner

This country has upheld its ban on gay sex. Here’s why it could be...

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“The failure to decriminalise consensual same-sex relations will undermine Kenya’s aim of reaching universal health coverage,” UNAids says.

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.
Where will newly qualified doctors go if provinces are being told to scale back staff under budget pressures?

Curing a sick system: Doctors and nurses must speak out for patients and themselves

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Medicine shouldn’t be the only thing on the books at our medical schools. Here are some tips for healthcare workers to handle abuse.

If we invested in this today, South Africa could save billions — and fight...

Community healthcare workers have become what some have called our “heroes on the ground” during COVID-19. By keeping more people healthier for longer, and...
Community health workers didn't just provide at-home HIV testing. They went into schools to help teach young people sexual and reproductive health and encourage boys to get medically circumcised.

Too poor to care? The call for a minimum wage has exposed a sick...

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Care workers may be the backbone of community health care but they sure aren’t paid like it
Methadone is used in countries around the world including Indonesia

‘I thought drug users just made bad choices. Then this happened’

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Until two years ago, it was Sibonelo Gumede’s job to help developers get rid of people who used drugs in neighbourhoods. Then his life changed.
community healthcare workers

Confused about the NHI? One of SA’s leading health economists breaks it down for...

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Think you know what the National Health Insurance is all about? Diane McIntyre is one of South Africa's leading health economists and contributed to policy proposals for an NHI in the country. She explains how the NHI may change how healthcare is funded and delivered in South Africa in this edited extract from the Health Systems Trust's 2020 edition of its annual South African Health Review.
An obese couple sits on the beach. Overweight and obesity have been recognised as crucial health issues and have been included in the sustainable development goals.

Obesity weighs heavily on Africa’s meagre resources

Big Food is just one driving force behind unhealthy eating, and strategies are needed to cut the high cost of associated diseases.