Health

27 Weeks

The gestation period of the human being is conventionally held to be 280 days. Nine months to get used to the idea, which is a good thing, because some of us, like me, have a lot to get our heads around. Those of you who’ve read my previous musings on the subject of children will…

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It is quite possible for women to have sex and get a degree

I saw an article today that I found extremely worrying. It suggested that 16 bursaries were awarded to female matriculants who underwent a virginity test, and passed. In order to keep these “maiden” bursaries, the women must “remain pure” and undergo regular testing throughout their undergraduate degree. These bursaries are premised on the idea that…

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How to help students succeed at university

By Rakhee Naik and Safiyyah Pahad After 21 years of democracy, people still question whether apartheid is a prominent reason impacting on the current state of education. Whether acknowledged or not, we must consider its impact on predominantly black students in accessing resources and educational opportunities. This is exacerbated by their limited social and cultural…

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On idiots and aliens

So, how many of you have ever been abducted by aliens? I first realised I might have been when I googled “aliens” after hearing that July 2 was World UFO Day. Up popped a story on Metro.co.uk headed “I was abducted by aliens — and they put a machine in my body” where a fellow…

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Sex is complex: Gender, HIV and Charlie Sheen’s disclosure

By Pierre Brouard So Charlie Sheen is in trouble again — this time because he has been forced to disclose his HIV status to be one step ahead of the tabloids, and to cut off the money supply to extortionists who had him over a barrel. The competing narratives around his disclosure have been fascinating:…

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An open letter to Discovery Health from a diabetic, this National Diabetes Month

Dear Discovery Health, Earlier today I was driven to tears by an excruciatingly frustrating encounter with Discovery Health. What surprised me most was not, sadly, that a conversation with my medical aid would move me to tears, but that none of my colleagues seemed surprised. In fact, many of them had had a similar experience….

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The dangerous accountability deficit in Malawi’s health sector

By Annabel Raw Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and is heavily dependent on aid. About 40% of its annual budget comes from international donors. However, following the revelation of a massive corruption scandal dubbed “cashgate”, donors have been slashing their disbursements. In October, the IMF also suspended loans to Malawi…

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Normalising intimate partner violence among Soweto youth

By Matamela Makongoza, Mzikazi Nduna and Janan Dietrich One of the greatest challenges facing young people today is intimate partner violence. This is usually perpetrated by young men against their female partners. For instance, three out of 10 adolescent males in the Eastern Cape reported beating or raping their partners, and this type of intimate…

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Urgently rethinking mental health in South Africa

As troops of psychologists flocked into Joburg last month, Emperors Palace morphed into a marketplace of ideas. My everyday work context is a busy public hospital setting, so as I prepared for this annual congress, mental health was on my mind. And it still is, because October is mental health month, and Saturday was World…

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The Khumbul’ekhaya phenomenon as symbolic suicide

By Thirusha Naidu and Andiswa Mankayi One day Mrs Lolo left. It was not a special or a different day. Now it became the day that Mrs Lolo left, perhaps forever. If you met Mrs Lolo on the path to the taxi stop that day you would not have guessed that it would be 30…

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