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Busisiwe was in labour for 36 hours but was turned away twice from a community health centre. When she was finally admitted, she gave birth to a boy and was discharged six hours later. Two days later she returned, feeling weak. Again she was turned away…
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Three years ago, the African Union began a continent-wide campaign to reduce the number of women who die when pregnant or giving birth. Called the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa, its slogan is "Africa cares: no woman…
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I met Nonkulelo* while interviewing women in the Eastern Cape about their experience of pregnancy and the public health system. She told me about her daughter, Fezeka*. A week after 20-year-old Fezeka had delivered a baby girl at a local health facility…
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South Africa's tourism website describes the country as the "land of good times and friendly people". Sadly, Araya Y, a pregnant Somali refugee living in Port Elizabeth, did not experience this side of the country. Instead, when she went to a government…
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South Africa has failed to clarify its position on the 22 recommendations made during the first UPR cycle in 2008 – making the assessment of the implementation problematic.  South Africa should clearly communicate its responses and commitments on all…
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Nomsa, a 20-year-old woman from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, showed me a scar on her thigh. She said it came from a wound inflicted by a nurse at a community health centre in 2010. The nurse, Nomsa said, used a pair of scissors "to make me open my legs…
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Dr. Eddie Mhlanga, South Africa’s chief director of maternal and women’s health, has movingly written about how he, as a conservative Christian, changed his mind on whether abortion should be a crime. When he was a young doctor, a colleague died in his…
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South Africa is a middle-income country and the richest in sub-Saharan Africa. It spends more on health per person than any other on the continent, and it provides this healthcare free, including services for pregnant mothers. And yet, the maternal…
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(Johannesburg)  – A lack of oversight and accountability for recurrent problems in the health system and abuses committed by health personnel contributes to South Africa’s substandard maternity care and undermines one of its top health goals: to reduce…
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This week, different groups around the world are observing World AIDS Day and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 1 and 3 respectively. Rarely have the two been observed together. At least until this year. Events hosted at UN…
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For years now, women’s groups in Southern Africa have campaigned tirelessly to ensure that the Southern African Development Community adopt the Protocol on Gender and Development. Yesterday, the SADC finally took that historic step. Member states will be…
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(Johannesburg) - Southern African leaders should adopt the proposed Gender and Development Protocol at their upcoming summit after amending it to include crucial provisions deleted in 2007, Human Rights Watch said today. One of the most important…
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In schools across South Africa, thousands of girls of every race and economic group are encountering sexual violence and harassment that impede their access to education, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today. School authorities rarely…