Health

Blood Brothers and socio-economic inequality

At the dramatic culmination of Willy Russell’s gripping musical, Blood Brothers (1983), one of the twins who were parted soon after birth, Mickey, expresses his resentment at his mother, Mrs Johnstone, for not having been the one (Eddie) who was given away to a rich, childless woman, exclaiming something like: “I could have been him!”…

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Has humankind really “progressed”, in the Enlightenment sense of the word?

In philosophy, there is a saying, by Hegel, that the owl of Minerva only spreads its wings at dusk. Hence, when we take stock of our situation today, with the benefit of such hindsight, what do we perceive? Has humankind really “progressed”, in the Enlightenment sense of the word? In fact, does “progress” make any…

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How to prevent another Life Esidimeni tragedy – experts speak out

By Suntosh R. Pillay On the surface of the disaster caused by the Gauteng Department of Health, it seems bizarre that vulnerable people were treated with no respect for their human rights, in a country whose Constitution fiercely protects them, supported by explicit legislation on the rights of the mentally ill (the Mental Health Care…

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Stop killing our wild animals!

In 2005 I spent three weeks in China, attending conferences in Nanjing and Beijing, and travelling to several other cities. At one point I participated in a hike about 90 kilometres outside Beijing, in an area where the great wall of China is quite dilapidated, unlike in the more touristy areas. It was an enjoyable…

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The resilience of a Somali community in Joburg

By Jennifer Sigamoney Globally, South Africa’s democracy is venerated and remains a symbol of hope for the rest of the continent. Consequently, however, to the initiation of true, representative egalitarianism in 1994, South Africa has attracted more asylum seekers than any other nation. The focus of this article is a small Somali community of political…

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Healthy cities are made of engaged citizens

If health is the absence of disease, then in the urban context, one might think achieving it is impossible. Yet in the past couple of days I was reminded that wellbeing is the result of a multitude of factors and that in our cities, just like at the individual level, such complexity means health is…

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Trump’s global gag rule puts safe abortion in jeopardy

In his first week as President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has demonstrated a callous disregard for women’s rights by reinstating and extending the so-called global gag rule, a policy which will prevent all organisations receiving US foreign aid for health from including abortion referrals or information within their programmes. Not only…

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‘Pay up!’ Unmarried fathers’ experiences of fatherhood

Dr. Elmien Lesch Research indicates that absent or uninvolved fathers have a negative impact on the psychosocial well-being of children. This is particularly important for South Africa as it has the second highest rate of father absence in Africa. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the presence of a father in itself…

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Reflections on my life on Robben Island

By Professor Saths Cooper Much has been said and written about apartheid political imprisonment as the triumph of the human spirit under extreme conditions, which it most certainly was. Distance in time and place usually lends a weird enchantment to views and memories that we may have experienced. Our natural tendency is to shy away…

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Tim Noakes vs Dr Ferdinantus Booyens – the curious machinations of the Health Professions Council of South Africa

It’s astonishing how much effort the Health Professions Council of SA has put into pursuing Tim Noakes, even to the extent of announcing a victory before judgment is handed down. They’re not usually that dedicated though. Take a look at the bizarre case of Dr Ferdinantus Booyens, who dominated the front page of Durban’s newspapers…

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