International Women’s Day – You matter, take care of your health
Finding balance between work and family life in a fast-paced environment can place significant pressure on women, affecting their mental and physical health. In celebration of International Women’s Day, which is observed annually on 9 August, the Western Cape Government Health encourages women to prioritise their health and to work with us to find ways to improve their mental and general well-being.
“Finding balance in our competitive society takes a strain on our women and families and by improving the health of women, this, in turn, enhances the productivity, social and economic participation and development of families. We are highlighting the importance of prevention and promotion wellness to build healthy, resilient, wellness conscious individuals, and families throughout the Western Cape,” said Western Cape Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo.
This Women’s Day, the Western Cape Department of Health wants to highlight the services available to women at our health facilities. Women are encouraged to take full advantage of their free access to a range of health services available at any public health clinic in the province.
The following services are available to women at our health facilities:
- pregnancy testing
- termination of pregnancy (TOP)
- antenatal (pre-birth) health care
- birth/labour services
- post-natal (after-birth) health care
- cervical cancer screening
- menopause care
- TB and HIV screening and care
- Chronic condition care and management
- STI screening and treatment
- youth-friendly clinics
- Counselling and screening services, which include:
- referrals for mammograms,
- information on self-examination for breast cancer,
- general information regarding nutrition and wellness
- sexual abuse/rape counselling
- mental health screening, counselling and care
The Department’s services are not only limited to more mature women, but also available to young women and girls in the province who are particularly vulnerable living in societies with many social challenges. To empower them, the Department has partnered with NACOSA to continue with the Young, Women and Girls programme in the Cape Metro Klipfontein area. This programme, which has been funded for another three years by Global Fund, focuses on increasing retention in school, decreasing the HIV incidence and teenage pregnancy, accelerate prevention to reduce new HIV and TB infections and STIs, decrease gender-based violence and increase economic opportunities for our young girls and women living in the Cape Flats.
“To ensure that the Department reaches its Healthcare 2030 goal towards becoming more person-centred, a Whole of Society Approach (WOSA) is required whereby all role-players, partners and government bodies work together to ensure that our women and their families healthcare and other social needs are met to ensure a healthier and more well-balanced lifestyle in the home,” said Dr Mbombo.
The Community-Based Services unit of the Department partners with Non-Profit Organisations to help women in need find well-balanced lifestyles by utilising Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) to conduct home assessments and assist in finding suitable healthcare assistance as well as linkages for the family to local clinics and other government institutions. These home visits by community healthcare workers and healthcare professionals to women and families who are unable to visit their local health facility, forms part of a new initiative introduced by the Department called the Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) project.
One participant in the COPC project is Sandra Mentoor (67) from Eastridge in Mitchells Plain who receives a state pension and is the sole breadwinner to a household of five. Sandra neglected her health to take care of her family and put food on the table. “I was very skeptical when the community health workers knocked on my door to provide home-based healthcare. I had negative experiences from state healthcare which made me avoid going to day hospitals for help,” said Sandra. “I have diabetes and never took care of my health previously because I had to provide for my family. My neglect led to all my toes being amputated on my right foot which could have been treated and healed with proper care,” Sandra explained.
Because of the CHWs persistence to provide healthcare, Sandra finally allowed them in her home to start treating her health problem. “Not only did they assist me and got me on the road to recovery, but they managed to link up the rest of my household with the Department of Social Development for assistance and helped to solve educational challenges my grandchildren faced,” said Sandra.
All Women’s Health primary health care services are free of charge, and we encourage all women including young girls, to make use of these services to improve their health status and well-being.
To find out how to make use of these services, visit https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/health or your nearest healthcare facility.