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The importance of being Brimey

With a black beret “à la the EFF” and fire-engine red scrubs, Ebrahim Variava is not scared to speak out against the ills of a broken public health system — something that got him suspended from his post as head of internal medicine at the Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. Meet the doctor for whom patients are always the priority.

#UNGA78: What the NHI means for universal health coverage in SA

The third day of high-level meetings at the 78th United Nations General Assembly is dedicated to talks on universal health coverage. In South Africa, this means talking about the proposed National Health Insurance fund — something that’s getting people hot under the collar. We’ve put together a one-stop page with information to support constructive debate.

[WATCH] Why treating sex workers badly makes HIV spread

Female sex workers in South Africa have more than double the HIV infection rates of adult women. Health workers’ negative attitudes towards sex workers and the criminalisation of the profession are big reasons. We break it down.

Why not enough people with HIV are on treatment — and how a new...

By 2025, South Africa wants 95% of people with HIV who are on treatment to have infection levels so low that they can’t transmit the virus to someone else. But this can only happen if they stick to taking their medication — which is where we’re falling down at the moment. A recent court ruling that allows people to get their medicines from private pharmacies may help.

The cost of caring: Zithulele’s Ben Gaunt, one year later

In 2022, after a decade of service, Ben Gaunt, who led a team who transformed Zithulele Hospital in the Eastern Cape from a struggling public health facility into a poster child of excellence, left the facility. The drama, which followed the appointment of a controversial CEO, was well publicised. We spoke to Gaunt one year later.

What goes into your medical aid premium — and what it means for the...

Pooling funds to cover people’s medical bills makes sense — but only if the funds are managed well. Here’s what actuaries and economists look at when calculating your monthly premium — and what it could mean for the proposed National Health Insurance plan.

NHI: The problem with trying to kill two birds with one stone

The National Health Insurance scheme aims to solve two problems — fixing poorly-run health facilities and distributing the money available for healthcare in the country in a more equitable way — simultaneously. But trying to fix two things at once may make things worse, writes Dave Martin.

[WATCH] Why transgender folks, gay and bisexual men have a higher chance of getting...

Men who have sex with men have a 28 times higher chance of getting HIV through sex than heterosexual men. And transgender women’s odds of getting HIV via sex is 14 times higher than non-transgender women. We break down why.

M72: Three things you need to know about a TB jab that might work

Many tuberculosis vaccines are in the works — but only one is showing real promise. Here’s why it’s worth getting excited.

The health department’s NHI branch appoints two new chief directors. Here’s what you need...

The appointments for the heads of two more of the five directorates of the National Health Insurance (NHI) were approved on Monday. These two positions will oversee user and service provider management and healthcare benefits and provider payment design. In the latest episode of Bhekisisa’s monthly TV show, Health Beat, Mia Malan asked the health department’s Nicholas Crisp and Sasha Stevenson from Section27 how the NHI will play out.

Can taking two pills a week slow down TB in South Africa? There’s a...

Not only does South Africa have one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world, the disease is also the country’s number one killer. With the country’s new national guidelines, more people will be able to get pills to prevent TB, which is part of the government’s plan to curb infections.

What’s happening with HIV numbers?

The United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids, UNAids, has released its latest HIV figures. Fewer people got infected with HIV in 2022 than...
In Nigeria

Inequality didn’t rise from hell: It’s man-made — and there’s nothing like a pandemic...

Why do pandemics such as Aids not automatically end when we have the medicine to control them? Because they play out in a world where inequality frequently prevents drugs from reaching the people who need it most, writes Mia Malan.

Events Moderated by Bhekisisa

As a leading source of accessible, accurate and compelling media coverage, we help mentor and strengthen the media skills of other organisations. Through our...

How the health department plans to stop discrimination in clinics

How does the health department deal with doctors and nurses discriminating against patients who have a higher chance of contracting HIV? Teaching them about being sensitive and trying to understand the cause of the issue, says Thato Chidarikire, acting head of HIV programmes at the department. Mia Malan found out more during this interview for Bhekisisa’s monthly TV show, Health Beat.

How to get ARVs delivered to your home in the rural Eastern Cape

In South Africa’s rural areas, people often face a long, arduous journey to get to a clinic where they can pick up their HIV medicines. Not taking the drugs regularly will mean that the person’s health suffers, which can make it even harder to make the trip. The Bulungula Incubator in the rural Eastern Cape has figured out how to set up a medicine pick-up point closer to people’s homes.