A survey published this week claimed that a third of South African adults are regular drug users, dagga use has risen by 11% in the past year and the use of methamphetamines by a staggering 88%. While well-intentioned, the results of the survey are unrepresentative. More research – and more questioning by journalists – is needed.
The claim that 28 percent of South African schoolgirls are living with HIV started with a remark by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, misreported by The Sowetan. Unquestioned, it has been repeated by media across the country and the world. The true rate is half that.
Gauteng is proposing a ban on Sunday alcohol sales to reduce the harm done by alcohol abuse. A major study backs the government claim that this would work, but only if action is taken to crack down on illegal sales.
The plans announced this month by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to build a 1,111-bed hospital are based on earlier bogus claims he had found a ‘cure’ for HIV/AIDS. Similar dodgy claims for ‘cures’ and ‘immunity boosters’ are often marketed across the continent.
The Sunday Independent this week ran an article on a new report by a group of scientists claiming that the positioning of cell phone masts in residential areas is linked to incidence of cancer. The article overplayed the evidence.
While evidence that women drink too much while pregnant is widespread, no research backs Sky News’ claim that South African mothers drink heavily deliberately to damage their unborn babies and claim disability benefits.
The department of health says that 96% of South African children receive all necessary vaccinations. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says only 64% do. In fact, the data is flawed, undermining both their claims.