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Phthisis, the white plague, consumption. A thief by many names, TB has stalked us since pretty much the beginning of humankind.

And centuries later, it's still South Africa's leading cause of death. In fact, we're in that unlucky crew of 30 countries that make up almost 90% of new TB cases globally. 

One hot World Aids Day not long ago, the country gathered in the mining town of Klerksdorp west of Johannesburg as part of the usual celebrations. Then Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe took to the podium. He spoke of the need to open clinics on mines up to communities, to have HIV/ TB plans and to finally abolish the hostel system.

Years later, some mining communities still don't have decent housing or even water and sanitation. 

There's no quick fix to the socio-economic conditions like these that help fuel TB's spread. In the meantime, South Africa might finally be on the verge of helping people mitigate their risk through new short courses of medicine.

But until today, they were priced out of reach. Find out what a drastic price cut announced today at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad, India means for TB, South Africa and access to medicine.

Happy reading, 

Laura Lopez Gonzalez

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Most recently, they’ve published on the role of vaping and e-cigarettes in quitting smoking, the damage caused by poorly regulated painkillers in West Africa, and why it’s so hard to stop people dying from snakebite.
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Life on a hotter earth: Depression, drought and decolonising #mentalhealth, via @mosaicscience: Life on a hotter earth: Depression, drought and decolonising #mentalhealth, via @mosaicscience:

According to a 2015 survey, one in four Rustenburg women had been raped at some point in their lives.

But, some may never be successful in seeking care because of their distance from clinics.

Doctors without Borders and our Dylan Bush show us the all-male driving crew changing this all while providing psychological first aid in the process.

Watch the video

[VIDEO] Meet the driving force behind getting survivors of sexual abuse to safety in this mining town, via @Bhekisisa_MG. #SGBV #rape [VIDEO] Meet the driving force behind getting survivors of sexual abuse to safety in this mining town, via @Bhekisisa_MG. #SGBV #rape
It's faster, easier and maybe even better: 3HP.

We've written about the relatively new short course to prevent active TB before, but now it could finally be happening in South Africa thanks to a new price cut.

But will South Africa’s rollout of 3HP fair any better than its past attempts with preventative TB treatment?  

Find out what one of the country’s leading experts says. Our Laura Lopez Gonzalez reports. 

Get the whole story
How much does it cost to prevent SA’s deadliest disease? Maybe as little as R230. @Bhekisisa_MG reports How much does it cost to prevent SA’s deadliest disease? Maybe as little as R230. @Bhekisisa_MG reports
Could this the be the future of TB prevent
Have 5 minutes? Take our short NHI survey.

Help us gauge public participation around the National Health Insurance, freely and anonymously.

If you’d like to add your voice, take five minutes to complete our 12-question survey. The survey also allows civil society members to upload their submissions to the NHI and whether or not they would like these to be made public.

While the survey is anonymous, we plan to analyse and publish the overall results on our website, and make the anonymous dataset available publically. Submissions marked for public consumption will be made available on our website as well as via The centre would like to thank our civil society reviewers who helped us draft and refine the survey questions

So add your voice to the nearly 100 members of civil society and the public who have chimed in with suggestions about how to make the road to an NHI a little better!

The deadline for input is 5 December
Click here to complete the survey
Help @Bhekisisa_MG gauge the quality of public participation around the National Health Insurance #NHI. Complete the five-minute survey here: Help @Bhekisisa_MG gauge the quality of public participation around the National Health Insurance #NHI. Complete the five-minute survey here:
We'd like to welcome our new subscribers! Welcome to quality health journalism.

Eric Buch of the Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health
Lucia Poorter from Gauteng
Irna Senekal of Nelson Mandela University
Janssen Davies of Pure Wild Fund

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Opportunities from around the web:

Programme manager, FHI360: EpiC — Pretoria

FHI360 seeks to appoint a pogramme manager of its Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) project.

EpiC is a five-year undertaking funded by Pepfar and USAid dedicated to achieving and maintaining HIV epidemic control. In South Africa, the project will be centred around voluntary medical male circumcision. 

The successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in management, international development, public health policy or any related field. Candidates must have at least five years' experience in programme management for multi-year international health sector development projects. All candidates must have previous experience working with US government funding, preferably Pepfar funding programming.

Deadline: 8 November
Find out more

Chief executive officer, Durban and Coastal Mental Health (DCMH) — KwaZulu-Natal

DCMH is a non-profit organisation that caters for persons with mental disabilities. The NGO seeks to appoint a CEO who will report directly to the governing board.

The CEO  will be responsible for overseeing administration, planning and the sustainability of the organisation. The successful candidate will have a tertiary qualification in social work and have a minimum of five years' experience in a management or director position.

All candidates must be registered with the Council for Social Services Professions and have a Code EB driver's licence.

Deadline: 1 November
Find out more

Medical officer, Society for Family Health (SFH) — KwaZulu-Natal

The SFH, a South African affiliate of Population Services International (PSI) seeks to appoint a medical officer to be based in uMgungundlovu and Harry Gwala districts in KwaZulu-Natal on a fixed-term contract.

SFH concentrates on HIV issues and uses social marketing to motivate behavioural change regarding consistent condom use, HIV testing and other prevention behaviours.

The officer will be responsible for theatre operations, client medical screening, safety coordination, adverse events management and mobilising and outreach activities.

The successful candidate will have a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery and experience in voluntary medical male circumcision. All candidates must be registered at the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Deadline: 30 October
Find out more

Panel discussion, Dullah Omar Institute & Human Rights Watch — Western Cape

The Dullah Omar Institute in partnership with Human Rights Watch will be hosting a panel discussion about human rights on the continent.

The panel will focus on the main human rights challenges across Africa and what efforts the South African government has taken, could have taken or should take in future to help defend and advance human rights across the continent.

Panellists include:

  • John Jeffery, Deputy Justice Minister of South Africa
  • Benyam Dawit Mezmur, head of the Children’s Rights Project at the University of the Western Cape, Vice-Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and member of the United Nations (UN) Committee on the rights of children
  • Zainab Bangura, former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and former Minister of Health and Sanitation and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Sierra Leone
  • Nic Dawes, Deputy Executive Director of Human Rights Watch and Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism board member

The discussion will be moderated by Mausi Segun, Executive Director, Africa at Human Rights Watch.

Date: 6 November 2019
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Venue: 1A and B, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape

To RSVP, email Crystal Nitsckie at by 25 October 2019.

Meta-Research for Transforming Clinical Research, What should we change in the way we are doing research, 25 November 2019 — Paris

Organised by the Methods in Research on Research (MiRoR) consortium, this meeting will look at meta-research, for instance, within preclinical studies as well as opportunities for data sharing, including within the pharmaceutical industry.

Other subjects to be discussed include tools and strategies to increase the replicability of studies and new approaches to evaluate researchers. Registration is free, but seats are limited.

Click here to find out more

Strategic information adviser, UNAids — Johannesburg

UNAids seeks to appoint a strategic information adviser to be based in Johannesburg.

The adviser will work with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to strengthen the integration of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), HIV and sexual gender-based violence services in East and Southern Africa. 

The adviser will provide technical support, establish integrated SRHR clinics with a task-shifting approach and standard curricula developed to train community healthcare workers to deliver services, among other duties.

The ideal candidate will have a degree in social or medical sciences, epidemiology and behavioural surveillance, public health and/or demography. Internal candidates must have at least nine years' experience, which will be considered an equivalent.

Deadline: 6 November
Find out more

Call for registration, International AIDS Conference — San Francisco and Oakland

Registration has been opened for the 23rd International AIDS Conference which will take place from 6 to 10 July 2020.

Next year's Aids Conference will mark the first time the world's largest conference on HIV and AIDS will be hosted in two neighbouring cities.

Conference registration has opened two months early to allow delegates more time to apply for visas.

Early registration ends on 15 January 2020. Group registration only applies to five or more people and the organisation requesting a group registration must nominate one group representative who will administer the group booking.

Media registration is free for eligible members of the media who will be attending in their capacity as journalists, photographers, videographers and community educators.

For more information about visa applications, click here.
To register, click here.

Call for public comment, National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill — deadline extended

The Portfolio Committee on Health invites stakeholders and interested parties to submit written submissions on the NHI Bill now before 29 November.

The objective of the Bill is to achieve universal access to quality healthcare services in South Africa as per Section 27 of the Constitution. 

As part of this, the Bill sets up the creation of an NHI Fund and outlines its powers, functions and governance structures. The Fund will be used to strategically purchase healthcare services on behalf of citizens and certain categories of foreign nationals to ensure the equitable, effective and efficient utilisation of its resources.

Deadline: 29 November
Click here to submit your comment
For any inquiries email Vuyokazi Majalamba or call her on 021 403 3770 or 083 709 8522

PS ICYMI: Our recent story about the quality of public participation made some major waves. Now, we've created a survey to help put some numbers behind the narratives.

Take a couple of minutes to take our 12-question survey and help us gauge the level of public participation around the process and possible ways to improve it.

While the survey is anonymous, we'll publish the results on our website, at the end of the submission period. They will also be made available on We will not include submissions marked as private in the results.

Call for Applications, Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH)

Young health systems researchers are encouraged to apply for this mentorship programme. During the course of the programme, successful candidates will receive e-coaching as well as in-person training on topics such as scientific presentation, networking and communication. Fellows will then participate in the Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Dubai in November 2020.

Deadline: 6 February 2020
Find out more 

Call for female experts in any field, Quote This Woman+ — Various locations

Quote This Woman+ is a project to establish an online database of women and non-binary experts to improve gender representation in sourcing among the media. During the election season alone, Quote This Woman+ fielded more than 500 calls from journalists wanting to increase the voices of women in the media.

Keen to be quoted? Submit your details to

Deadline: N/A
Find out more

Have something to say or an opportunity to share? Let us know. Email tip-offs, comments or story and opinion suggestions to 

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The Bhekisisa Team
Copyright © 2019 Bhekisisa Development Media NPC. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, Metal Box
25 Owl Street, 4th Floor, Braamfontein Werf, 2092, Johannesburg, South Africa

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