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Medical xenophobia is a disease that needs to be stopped

South Africa – Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba was captured on video berating a patient while a group of health officials watched on and laughed. The patient, who is alleged to be an undocumented migrant, felt the wrath of Ramathuba who believes undocumented patients are putting a strain on South Africa’s medical services. This latest mistreatment […]

National and International News

Sharing Stories: Prioritizing Sexual and Reproductive Health in Universal Health Coverage

“Globally women and girls continue to face barriers to access healthcare services—whether it be transport costs, financial costs, or even language barriers,” said Shakira Choonara, Technical Specialist with the World Health Organization (WHO) at a recent launch event of the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Learning by Sharing Portal (LSP). Co-developed by WHO […]

National and International News

Realising transformative change in adolescent health and wellbeing: a second Lancet Commission.

The 2016 Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing 1 brought global attention to the transformational potential of the world’s 10–24-year-olds to reap a triple dividend of benefits for adolescents now, as they matured into adulthood, and later still for their children. In an accompanying Comment, the UN Secretary-General identified adolescents as “the world’s greatest untapped resource”. 2 Baird S, […]

Published Work

Medical xenophobia: It’s time to level the power imbalance in healthcare facilities

Dr Shakira Choonara is a multi-award-winning public health practitioner, activist and 2017 woman of the year in health. This piece is written in her individual capacity and not representative of any organisation. Let’s talk about the deep irony of discrimination and the intersectionality between class and migration. On the one hand, black patients who are […]


Story Slam & Launch of the SRH & UHC Learning by Sharing Portal

Join us for a story slam as we launch the WHO, UNFPA Sexual and Reproductive Health and Universal Health Coverage Learning by Sharing Portal (SRH-UHC LSP)! Addressing a gap in evidence and guidance, the Learning by Sharing Portal profiles national-level implementation stories on advancing access to quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health as an […]


#Thought Space: A Mandela Day Feature on Nomkhitha Gysman Leading Action against Ukuthwala

I first met Nomkhitha Gysman during a gender-focused Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in 2017. Nomkhitha served as the SADC expert and focal point for gender in our region and during the pandemic (around 2020) had invited me to an incubation meeting for the Foundation she envisioned to tackle ukuthwala (forced child marriages), a […]

Blog Space

Alarming rates of drug-resistant bacterial infections in SA’s newborn babies

Two-thirds of cases of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections were diagnosed in public hospitals in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. A study led by experts from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) involving newborn babies has revealed a prevalence of infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria in South African hospitals. According to the six-year study, almost 38 000 cases of […]

National and International News

#frayHero: Shakira Choonara

Each week, frayintermedia highlights an advocacy hero doing good work on the continent and honours them as our #frayHero. Meet multi-award winning public health and gender justice champion Shakira Choonara who is driven by an interest in creating systems that level the plainfield for young women to thrive.   Q: You have been at the forefront of public […]

Special features

May 2022, Recommended by SC Development Consulting, Young African Scholar, Goitse Ditsele.

What will it take to achieve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV? This article outlines progress in realizing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls living with HIV over the last 30 years from the perspective of women living with HIV. It argues that the […]

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