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.
As we look at the year ahead, urgent work remains to build on past successes and to bring the HIV epidemic sustainably under control. Amongst others, we need to address persistent stigma and discrimination, as well as the structural and social factors that put women and girls at increased risk of HIV infection, argues Rachel Toku-Appiah.
Though South Africa has in some respects done well in the provision of sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls and young women, significant gaps remain. Tiyese Jeranji takes an in-depth look at the current policy landscape and asks how well the implementation of the policies measures up to their lofty ambitions.
There are a variety of tools available today to prevent pregnancy including pills, intrauterine devices, subdermal implants, injections, condoms, male and female sterilisation, and emergency contraception. Statistics suggest that people in South Africa do, in principle at least, have access to and are aware of these contraceptive methods, albeit not at the desired levels. Elna Schütz looks at what contraceptive methods are available and makes some surprising discoveries along the way about which ones are most popular.
The new national clinical guidelines for the implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act serve as an opportunity to strengthen services in providing much-needed clarity and guidance to health workers. Marion Stevens and Nozizwe Conco unpack these guidelines on International Safe Abortion Day.
As we commemorate yet another Women’s Month, we are reminded of the many initiatives that have come and gone in an attempt to address the extreme period poverty that continues to plague South African women and girls. It is time to solve this issue once and for all, and to make sanitary towels and menstrual hygiene products free and readily available, writes René Sparks.
The ongoing stockouts of contraceptives grossly violate individuals’ and couples’ reproductive rights but alternative measures have not been put in place. If the issues of access to contraceptives are not dealt with, the country will face a baby boom and a rise in HIV infections at the end of the current pandemic writes Thuthukile Mbatha and Annah Maluleke.
Among several significant barriers to accessing abortion services, experts cite a lack of management support at health facilities, costs, fear of breach of confidentiality and stigma. Many of these barriers are compounded in rural areas. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Almost nine months since the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) released a damning report with dozens of women living with HIV’s testimonies about forced sterilisations allegedly performed on them in public health facilities, the Department of Health has now moved to implement the Commission’s recommendations. Nomfundo Xolo reports.
With abortion services now available through telemedicine and the increasing practice of self-managed abortion, Marion Stevens asks if abortion law still has any relevance given these practices.