Women’s Health

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High Risk

While there are no formal surveys, guesstimates are that about 22 percent of South African university undergraduate students are HIV positive. In this special report we investigate how tertiary institutions are dealing with the epidemic.
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Diaries of my womanhood

Cervical cancer or cancer of the womb is the second most common cancer in South Africa affecting one in every 41 women, according to the Cape Provincial Department of Health. Each year about 5000 new cases are detected and 1500 women die from cervical cancer. The good news is that this type of cancer is entirely curable if discovered in time. A simple pap smear can determine whether abnormal cells that may later become cancerous are present in the cervix. Thandeka Teyise went to Khayelitsha to watch a stage play, Diaries of my Womanhood, which aims to create awareness around cervical cancer and how men should get involved in their partner'€™s health. She spoke to the director and the writer Itumeleng Wa-lehurele.
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Depression and motherhood

About 34 percent of women who participated in a Khayelitsha study on mother and infant relationships showed signs of depression. The study titled '€œThula Sana'€ (a Xhosa lullaby) involved about 147 mothers and was conducted by the University of Cape Town Child Guidance clinic over a period of four years. Dr Mark Tomlinson, a senior researcher at the clinic, said a lack of spousal support was one of the leading factors in Post Natal Depression but that this was not the only cause. Added pressures are unemployment, poverty and single parenting. Dr Tomlinson also found that mood swings after women had given birth could impact adversely on the growth of the infant.  Thandeka Teyise of Health-e News spoke to Dr Tomlinson about his research and future plans.
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What kills women

Up to 150 women out of 100 000 die annually whilst still pregnant, during labour or shortly after giving birth in South Africa. That is the finding of a report published recently by the national Department of Health and that follows three years of monitoring and collecting data on the patterns of maternal deaths. Khopotso Bodibe reports.
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Call to end female genital mutilation

According to the World Health Organisation some 130 million women around the world have suffered due to female genital mutilation (FGM). Every year two million girls and young women are subjected to this practice that survives despite efforts taken in many of the countries involved to try to eradicate it. While the practice continues in sub-Saharan Africa, some of the Arab peninsula and parts of the Far East, these are not the only regions affected. Emigration to from these areas to Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is challenging these governments to find a solution to FGM as it is now practiced in these countries. Khopotso Bodibe of Health-e News Service, reports.
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