SA: Primary health services brought closer to communities

joe-phaahlaBy – SAnews.gov.za

Pretoria – Free primary health care services have been brought closer to those in need in South African communities.

Health Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla on Tuesday launched the Annual Rotary Family Health Days 2016 in Rustenburg in the North West. The initiative aims to bring free primary healthcare services to 110 disadvantaged communities across the country.

The initiative is made possible by the Rotarians for Family Health & Aids Prevention (RFHA) in partnership with the National Department of Health. It targets communities that cannot easily access primary health services.

Rotary Family Health Days are between 12 and 14 October. The campaign has been held annually since 2013 and this year the aim is to reach a record of 100 000 people.

“Free health services that will be offered during the campaign include TB screening and testing, HIV counselling and testing, vitamin A supplementation and healthy lifestyle information, immunisation (members of the public are reminded to bring their children’s immunisation cards), and health screening including blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and others,” said the department.

Particular focus will be on adolescent girls and young women as part of the department’s strategic plan. Deputy Minister Phaahla said the plight of girls and young women between 15 and 24 years was highlighted earlier this year when government announced the launch of She Conquers, a campaign that promotes HIV prevention in this age group.

“Despite our success in rolling out the largest HIV treatment programme in the world, it is estimated that nearly 2 000 girls and young women in South Africa still get infected with HIV each week.

“This campaign will fast track efforts to empower young people, especially adolescent girls and young women,” said the Deputy Minister.

The high HIV incidence in young women and girls is compounded by high levels of teenage pregnancy, school dropout and gender based violence in a context where there are limited economic opportunities for young people.

The department said the Rotary Family Health Days campaign is a good example of a public-private partnership that benefits communities in need.

Sponsorship is provided by Gilead, a California-based biopharmaceutical company.

RFHA President and CEO Alicia Michael said her team is honoured to once again work with the Rotarians, the National Department of Health, medical professionals, media outlets and the citizens of South Africa to provide health care resources across the country.

“We truly appreciate the effort of the thousands of people it takes to provide this massive health and wellness campaign,” said Michael.

For more information, visit www.rfhdsouthafrica.org or find your nearest treatment site by dialling *120 *7434# or the NDOH helpline on 0800 012 322.

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