Health

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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Give your car a hug

So here we are, little more than a century later, and the car is as welcome in every home as the chamber pot was before inside toilets arrived. It wasn’t always so, though. When the first adventurers took to the roads in steam and electric and clockwork and petrol-engined cars in the 1890s only the…

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Lost causes

Okay, I might as well get it out in the open. I’m a loser. Luckily, most of the things I misplace turn up somewhere, sometime, and then it’s like Christmas at chez Foster. Some of my items that go AWOL are repeat offenders, and my bunch of house keys with the large magnesium and flint…

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The long goodbye

I know the face of dementia. I know its slow robbing of personality, of character, of the daily moments of person to person connection that make us human. This was brought even closer to home when I met the father of a good friend who had recently moved his wife with advanced Alzheimer’s disease into…

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Amaechi’s role in freeing Nigeria of the polio scourge

By Philemon Doro Adjekuko It has been about a year now since Nigeria recorded any case of polio. For over 17 years, the disease was on a rampage, especially in the northern part of the country. The country accounted for about 50% of global and 80% of African polio cases. Nigeria was the face of…

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Discovery Health wants a picture of your anus

Didn’t your mother warn you to never, ever, ever take a photograph of your private parts and give it or send it to anyone, let alone a complete stranger who asks for it? But this is exactly what happened when Donn Edwards, an old school friend of mine, submitted a claim for specialised wound care…

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Public health in SA: Crying out for help, but who is listening?

By Louise Carmody I was one of over a hundred people who gathered last week in the University of the Free State auditorium, as communities shared their experiences with an independent panel of three commissioners. Treatment Action Campaign and Section 27 convened the panel to investigate the real situation of public health care services in…

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Circumcision SA style – the unkindest cut of all

It demands a certain je ne sais quoi for someone of apparently sound mind to allow a man clad in animal skins to slice off their foreskin with a rusty assegai. And that in an isolated bush camp in the dead of winter, nogal. Especially since this rite of passage to manhood comes parcelled with…

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Civil society plays key role in promoting health rights in southern Africa

By Annabel Raw The Southern Africa Litigation Centre’s health rights programme was established in 2007 to advance human rights and the rule of law in southern Africa in relation to the HIV pandemic. Our work under this programme demonstrates the importance of human rights and the rule of law in issues of HIV and health…

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