In South Africa at least 5,000 people are killed on the country’s roads every year. Or is it closer to 14,000? Or more than those dying of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as has been claimed?
The lifestyle sections and health pages of many major newspapers and magazines routinely tout questionable health claims that are not supported by scientific research or evidence. This is a guide to evaluating the legitimacy of those claims and reporting responsibly on them.
A number of leading Malawian newspapers and websites have unquestioningly championed a supposed “wonder herb” that supporters claim can cure HIV, Aids and numerous other diseases and ailments. The claims are untrue, irresponsible and should be condemned.
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.
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.