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Residents take a walk towards a healthier lifestyle

 

The City’s Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Health, in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and the City’s Region F Citizen Relationship and Urban Management (CRUM), hosted day-long health-related activities at JC Lucas Park in Rosettenville.

The activities included a 5km family fun walk, cultural performances, gumboot dance, exercises and aerobics. All participants in the family fun walk were each presented with medals, a cool drink and a fruit.

According to the City’s Operations Manager: Health Promotions, Nonhlanhla Magwaza, the aim of the annual event was to promote a healthy lifestyle in line with the City’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040).

“We want our communities to be accustomed to a healthy lifestyle and healthy living. By doing this we are helping in the fight against chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, tuberculosis, epilepsy and asthma, among others,” Magwaza said.

She said March had been declared International Tuberculosis Month by the World Health Organisation. “As a City, in recognition of the International Tuberculosis Month, we decided to go to communities and educate and empower residents about a whole range of lifestyle diseases and chronic illnesses, including tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension and HIV-Aids,” Magwaza said.

She said the primary focus of the campaign was to improve the lives of our people and to help increase the life expectancy. “Our people die young. A nation without the youth is not a nation at all. 

 

“When our senior citizens and elders die, who is going to take our country forward? Some of these life-threatening lifestyle diseases can be prevented at an early age,” she said. Health practitioners were also on hand to screen residents for hypertension and diabetes.

 

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City in drive to protect girls against cervical cancer

The health departments of the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government have embarked on a joint month-long campaign to vaccinate nine-year-old girls in Grade 4 at both public and special schools against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

The vaccination campaign, which includes a deworming intervention, started on Tuesday February 21 and will be wound up on March 28. It is the first of a two-part annual drive to prevent cervical cancer among learners and to protect them against worm infestations. The second dose, HPV2, will take place from August 22 to September 27. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.

The campaign, which is undertaken annually under the theme “Protecting South African Girls against Cancer of the Cervix”, started in 2014. Almost 80% of cervical cancers are caused by the HPV. The virus can infect the genital area and cause a genital wart or cervical and other cancers.

The vaccination prevents the virus from developing on the cervix. Though there is no cure for HPV infection, some of the problems it causes can be treated.

“The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Health officials will visit public and special education schools during the campaign to administer free HPV vaccination to girls that are nine years old and are in Grade 4 in 2017,” says Cllr Mpho Phalatse.

 

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City embarks on TB awareness

Recent figures released by Statistics South Africa confirm that tuberculosis is still the country’s number one killer, responsible for almost 40 000 mortalities a year.

According to the World Health Organisation’s 2016 Global TB Report, South Africa reported 454 000 new TB cases in 2015, making it the country with sixth-highest prevalence of TB in the world after India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria and Pakistan.

It is against this background that the City has embarked on a massive campaign to create awareness of the health threats of both TB and HIV-Aids.

During the campaign, patients will be screened for the disease at all public clinics across the city. The campaign is expected to reach its climax on Friday March 24 when the City will join the global community to mark the annual World Stop TB Day.

The campaign will continue into April. This year’s drive will place emphasis on “missing patients”. These are patients who were diagnosed with TB and HIV but did not commence or continue with their treatment.

The City’s health practitioners will give special attention to hostel dwellers, residents of informal settlements and other groups such as miners, senior citizens, children and healthcare workers.

The City’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, says people must be aware that TB could be completely cured if patients followed their treatment programme for the prescribed period, depending on the type of infection.

“Testing and treatment for TB and HIV are available for free at all City clinics. We urge communities to encourage families and friends to visit the clinics if they notice the tell-tale TB symptoms. It is equally important to provide ongoing support to TB patients and to assist them to continue with the treatment until they are cured,” said Cllr Phalatse.

TB is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person through the air. It affects mostly lungs but can also have an impact on other parts of the body. Its symptoms include a persistent cough that continues for more than two weeks, a fever that lasts for more than 14 days, unexplained weight loss and drenching night sweats.

Cllr Phalatse has appealed to residents to get tested as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the disease.

 

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