Childhood exposure to violence associated with mental health conditions later in life, experts say

That South Africa has unusually high levels of inter-personal violence is clear from the country’s crime statistics and regular news reports about violent crime. The knock-on effects on the mental health of people in the country are, however, less easy to quantify. Thabo Molelekwa reports on local research showing an association between exposure to violence in childhood and mental health problems later in life.

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Interview: “There’s so much respiratory disease and there’s so much to be done,” says leading paediatrics Prof

For decades, Professor Heather Zar has been at the cutting edge of research into the health of children in South Africa. Last month she received the European Respiratory Society’s lifetime achievement award in paediatrics. Biénne Huisman chatted to Zar about her career, the remarkable Drakenstein Child Health Study, and the urgent need to ensure access to new RSV vaccines in Africa.

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In-depth: Children are still dying of malnutrition in the Free State

Even in 2023, infants under five years in the Free State are still dying from a lack of healthy food. From April to June this year, 21 children in the province died of severe acute malnutrition and one died of moderate acute malnutrition. Refilwe Mochoari unpacks the numbers and asks government about its plans to address what at least one expert is calling a ‘crisis’.

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Antibiotic-resistant bugs claim over 200 000 infants globally per year, finds major study

A landmark global observational study found that many neonates get life-threatening bloodstream infections, or sepsis, and are dying because the antibiotics used to treat them are not effective. Sepsis affects up to 3 million babies a year globally and the study authors estimate that 214 000 newborns die every year from sepsis that has become antibiotic resistant – mainly in low- to middle-income countries. Adele Baleta reports.

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OPINION: Part of child protection is allowing kids to be themselves when it comes to gender

South Africa is currently observing Child Protection Week to shine a spotlight on the rights of children, as enshrined in the Constitution and the Children’s Act. The campaign aims to ensure the rights, safety, and well-being of children – aiming to foster a safer environment. To foster a safe environment, however, children must not only feel physically safe but also emotionally safe. Yet teenagers often do not have a safe space to speak to trusted people about the confusion they face around their gender, writes Kholofelo Mphahlele.

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Pilot programme improving access to mental health services for kids in Khayelitsha

Earlier this year, the annual Child Gauge indicated that child and adolescent mental health services in South Africa are in crisis – mostly due to inadequate resources. How to best provide such services within the constraints of our public healthcare system is an open question. Tiyese Jeranji visited the Michael Mapongwane Community Health Centre in Khayelitsha where a pilot project aimed at improving kids’ access to mental health services is showing encouraging results.

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