STIs are a major health concern in South Africa posing a hazard to millions of people who engage in unprotected sex daily. The eleventh to the fifteen February is marked annually as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and condom week.
This week is aimed at providing information about STIs and highlight the importance of condom use to combat the spread of STIs and HIV/ AIDS.
Most South Africans remain untreated with STIs because of the fear of being stigmatised. An estimated 1 194 636 males and females were treated for a new STI episode in 2014. In addition, an estimated 338 838 males according to The Department of health.
What is an STI?
STI refers to Sexually transmitted infections that are usually transmitted by having unprotected sexual intercourse which is either vaginal, anal or oral sex in some cases, certain STIs can also be passed on through skin to skin contact and from a woman to her baby during pregnancy and childbirth.
Differences between STIs and STDs
Many people confuse STIs with STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) while the two are often used interchangeably, there are some distinct differences between them. An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, and STD is a sexually transmitted disease, moreover, not all STIs cause diseases and there are some STD that can be curable using prescribed medication and some are not curable such as HIV, these remain in the body for a lifetime. Those STDs that remain in the body for a lifetime can be suppressed using antiretroviral pills, thus increasing a lifespan of an individual affected.
Types of STIs:
There are different types of STIs, certain others are easily treated and cured with antibiotics while others can lead to serious long-term health consequences depending on the type of STI one may have contracted. The most common STIs are:
Symptoms of STI’s
A person can have an STI/STDs without having any noticeable symptoms, however, there are common symptoms and they include:
The World Health Organisation postulates that More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide and an estimated 357 million new infections each year. Although some STIs are curable through antibiotics there are also some that can lead to serious long-term health consequences depending on the type of STI. As such, it is crucially important to protect yourself and your partner against STIs.
The most reliable way to avoid contracting an STI is abstinence, however, if you do have sex using a latex condom is one of the effective ways to prevent most STIs from your partner when used properly. If you suspect that you may have an STI, talk to your partner and visit your nearest clinic.
written by Maano Leroy Nethanani
AgriAid SA and twenty-seven other NGOs funded by the National Department of Health joined forces and conducted a peaceful march on Tuesday 12th February 2019. The march took place under a cloudy and light rain weather from Marabastad and headed to the National Department of Health.
Members and representatives of all the twenty-eight NGOs were unstoppable by the unfavourable weather conditions during the march that took place under the supervision of law-enforcement officers from Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The main purpose of the peaceful march was to follow up on outstanding issues that were handed over to Dr Yogan Pillay and hence submit their second memorandum of demands. In no specific order, the outstanding issues amongst others included issuing a call for proposals for the year 2019/2020, host an NGO workshop and extending the fund cycles to at least 3-5 years.
Despite the dissatisfactions that the NGOs’ representatives were faced with, members managed to remain calm and civil causing no damage to property. Moreover, During the march officials from NDoH joined in the march and stated that they were also fighting with the same department over allegations of the building not complying with the safety regulations
Speaking during the march, Monene CEO of AgriAid SA said, “we don’t want to be in a situation where we are in a dryland, where we don’t have funding anymore, that is the reason why we are here”.
In addition, Monene further said that they will be forced to go to the presidency if they are not getting any satisfaction from the National Department of Health.
By Maano Leroy Nethanani
AgriAid SA has been relentless in its mission to turn around the HIV and AIDS epidemics around as such, on 07 December 2018 AgriAid SA in collaboration with MTO Lowveld hosted a health and wellness day at MTO lowveld under the theme ‘’Love your body through that course”.
This event is an annual initiative that is aimed at concertising employees and the community at large to focus on their personal health through participating in several organised activities of which include: HIV, TB, diabetes and hypertension testing, TB and STI screening, nutritional information, aerobics, Soccer and financial advice.
These services were offered by AgriAid SA, South African police services, Department of health (Mobile unit) and Old Mutual.
Motivational Speaker of the day Zanana Jonah whose living with Diabetes encouraged the crowd to take their health seriously by getting tested for HIV and other NCDs in closing she said ‘’HIV is manageable, get tested, know your status and get treatment immediately if need be”
Furthermore, AgriAidSA would like to acknowledge the donation made by PEP store who sponsored stationery goody packs that were given away to the participants on the day.
The organisations are accusing the department of negligence and disregarding its own mandate to provide quality healthcare.
Thirty-six Non-Governmental Organisations funded by government have handed over their memorandum of demands to the Health Department over the withdrawal of funding for HIV and AIDS programmes.
The organisations are accusing the department of negligence and disregarding its own mandate to provide quality healthcare by withdrawing funding to the NGO’s without an explanation.
These NGO’s provide counselling, HIV and TB treatment and also link communities with access to health facilities.
AgriAid SA’s Monene Mamabolo says it is difficult for people to access health facilities because they do not have money.
Read the full article here
SABC News, 14 April 2018
Despite significant progress made over the years, TB remains a threat in most of the world population. March 24 marks world Tuberculosis (TB) Day to raise public awareness and knowledge of TB prevention and treatment.
This year’s TB Day is celebrated under the theme: ‘’Wanted: Leaders for a TB free world, you can make history, end TB”.
World TB Day commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of Tuberculosis, there TB bacillus. At the time of Koch’s announced in Berlin TB was raging through Europe and America causing the death of one out of every seven people.
To this day, TB continues to be the top infectious killer, claiming over 4500 a day according to The World Health Organisation.
As such, World TB Day provides an opportunity and call upon leaders, health care providers, organisations and other partners to intensify care and support, following up on TB suspects and reaching key population areas, thus introducing strategic interventions.
It is noteworthy to mention the significant progress that AgriAid SA has made in agricultural communities to end the TB pandemic. To yet AgriAid SA has screened over 52147 and reached over 1439 TB suspects during 2016 through different program interventions such as mobile testing, door to door campaigns, twilight testing, partner index case finding and through Private Public Partnership clinics.
As with all health conditions, prevention of TB is always better than cure. As we move forward we call upon leaders from different sectors, health providers, NGOs and partners to join forces and accelerate efforts in ending TB.
By: Witness Mbali Motha (Communications Officer)
International women’s day is a global event celebrated annually on March 8 to honour the economic, political, social and cultural achievements and progress made by women across the world. This year is celebrated under the theme “Time Is Now”. #PressforProgress.
Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action, a call to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues, institutions and communities at large to think, act and be gender inclusive.
International Women’s Day is not specific to any country, community, group or organisation, it cuts across collectively everywhere in the world. As AgriAid SA we stand in solidarity with all the fearless women advocating for gender equality in economically deprived and rights entrapped settings. More especially women in rural and agricultural contexts, of which we as an organisation have been directly involved in shaping and changing their health needs.
Let’s come together and be tenacious in accelerating gender equality for all women collectively. #PressforProgress.
Monene Mamabolo: AgriAid SA CEO
As more people urbanise to city-states and metropolitan areas they become vulnerable to lifestyle changes, consisting of sedentary behaviours and unhealthy diets of fast foods and processed foods. Consequently, this change in environments and behaviour has a massive impact on the quality of life and on people’s optimal health. Poor health behaviour can increase one’s chances of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
The 14th of November, among it being the month of raising awareness on men’s health issues (#Movember) is widely celebrated as world diabetes day, with the aim of raising awareness of the chronic condition and help combat the increasing rate of diabetes across the world.
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, describes a group of metabolic diseases characterised by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that result either because of inadequate insulin production or the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin or both. Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, however, when you have diabetes the pancreas (an organ that lies near the stomach) does not produce enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin as required. As such, the blood contains very high blood sugar levels that circulate around the body and destroys blood vessels and nerves in some parts of the body.
Health24 postulates that about three and a half million South Africans (6% of the population) suffer from diabetes and there are much more who are undiagnosed. As such diabetes is counted among the top three leading causes of natural deaths in 2014, moving from the third position in 2014 to second in 2015. Moreover, according to the International Diabetes Federation, South Africa is one of the 32 countries of the IDF African region. 415 million people have diabetes in the world and more than 14 million people in the AFR Region; it is estimated that by 2040 this figure will more than double. There were 2.28 million cases of diabetes in South Africa in 2015.
Types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
A condition where the body stops producing insulin.
A condition that develops over time where the body is unable to use insulin properly
Refers to a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of diabetes
Signs and symptoms of diabetes vary, depending on the type of diabetes that you might have. Type2 diabetes develops more gradually and often occurs unnoticed, symptoms of type 1 diabetes develop more quickly over a short period, because of elevated sugar levels. There are however common symptoms of diabetes and they include, frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, extreme hunger, very dry skin, sores that are slow to heal and blurred eye vision.
How to control diabetes-Lifestyle changes–diet plan and medication
While there are several factors that influence the development of type2 diabetes, it is evident that the most influential are lifestyle behaviours, such as unhealthy diet characterised with high consumption of sugary foods, salt and fats, and physical inactivity.
As the population is rapidly growing, adopting and modifying unhealthy behaviours could be beneficial in preventing and managing type2 diabetes as type 1 cannot be preventable, such changes will include taking blood glucose-lowering medications following a healthy balanced meal plan engaging in an active lifestyle with regular exercise, cutting down on sugar as recommended by World Health Organisation.
Do you or someone you love have high blood pressure (hypertension)? Are you worried about the risk of having, a stroke or a heart attack because of it? You are not alone. Hypertension is the most common chronic condition among senior adults today.
High blood pressure refers to the force of blood against your artery walls as your heart pumps blood through your body, hypertension occurs when the force of blood is stronger than it normally should be. A normal blood pressure of an adult is regarded to be 120/80 mmHg, anyone whose blood pressure is higher for a longer period is said to have high blood pressure.
Over 1 in 3 South African adults, starting from the age of 15 and older, suffer from high blood pressure according to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa. It is with sadness that South Africa is ranked among the most affected countries by hypertension placed fifth in the world. Such a high rapid rise is connected to behavioral and social factors among senior adults today.
Rise of Hypertension in Our Society
High blood pressure is a silent killer with no obvious symptoms, over 90% of adults already suffer from primary hypertension, this genetic condition is connected to socio patterns such as poor diets lacking needed nutrients, uncontrolled stress levels, smoking tobacco, being overweight and excessive alcohol intake. Another risk factor is the excessive intake of salt, which is currently consumed 2-3 times higher than the daily recommended allowance of 5g among South Africans. The government’s efforts to intervene has seen the legislation of sodium in certain foods to be minimized in not more than 5g per individual’s salt intake a day come into effect. Thus after the World Health Organization’s recommendation to reduce salt consumption by 2025 to a drastically 2g per day.
Effects of High Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure hardens your arteries, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and may lead to dangerous risks of strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, damage to eyesight, swollen ankles, and shortness of breath. High blood pressure is particularly difficult for seniors who can suffer extreme fatigue which can result in loss of independence.
Proper Management of High Blood Pressure
Change in lifestyle plays an important role in managing high blood pressure such as adopting a healthy balanced diet, reducing your salt intake to less than 1 teaspoon (5g) a day, or by substituting your salt intake with other flavors such as dried herbs, spices, lemon juice, and garlic without the need for salt. In addition, limiting the use of alcohol, smoking and maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise, can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
While South Africa is currently leading the fight against salt intake, we must take action to acknowledge the public and provide education about hypertension and its link to stroke and heart diseases. Moreover, efforts to raise health awareness in seniors must take centre stage to reduce the growing rise of high blood pressure in our society.
By: Sally Perkins
President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans to use Mandela Day to take the fight against poverty forward, theming the day #ActionAgainstPoverty.
The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thomson, will donate educational toys and books and distribute gifts to the elderly in Pietermaritzburg.
AgriAid SA said as part of celebrating Mandela’s legacy, it would conduct a door-to-door HIV testing campaign at an informal settlement in Phola Park, Sabie, Mpumalanga. It will also distribute over 2000 sanitary pads to young women.
Read the full article here
IOL, 16 July 2017
AgriAid SA in partnership with MTO Lowveld will host a Nelson Mandela day event aimed at encouraging healthy living and wellness among farmworkers and their beneficiaries on July 18, 2017, MTO Lowveld, White River, Mpumalanga.
The event is set to reinforce the importance of health care among farm workers and their immediate beneficiaries, including neighbouring communities. AgriA SA organises and implements HIV, Tuberculosis (TB), NCD and wellness programmes for agriculture, forestry and fisheries workers across five provinces in South Africa within 12 districts. Thus, it does by promoting an integrated approach wherein HIV, TB and NCD awareness is raised through sharing of information, biannual testing and offering treatment as they are essential components in fighting the pandemic.
The Nelson Mandela Day celebration will feature notable organisations such as Right To Care, South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), Laapeng Foundation and including Mbombela Local Municipality, which will cover some of the following activities:
In addition, AgriAid SA will host a door to door HIV testing campaign at an informal settlement in Phola Park, Sabie, Mpumalanga, where over 2 000 sanitary pads will be distributed to young women and other basic toiletry products.
Nelson Mandela International Day calls on us all to make a difference in our communities, society and the world. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it’s what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead,’’ Nelson Mandela.
For more information contact:
Muzikayise Mike Maseko
Tel: 012 320 8455
Cell: 060 760 9656
Witness Mbali Motha
Tel: 012 320 8455