Make your health a top priority
World Health Day commemorated on 7 April 2022 highlights the importance of the role both government and residents play in their health journey and in improving health outcomes for a #HealthierTomorrow.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role and responsibility each of us have when it comes to our own health through preventative measures such as vaccination, mask-wearing, and smaller gatherings. However, for someone living with a chronic condition, playing a key role in managing their health has been a reality even before COVID-19.
Lindiwe Magazulwe, Wellness coordinator for the Garden Route District, has first-hand experience of the importance of looking after your health and the impact a healthy lifestyle can have on both mental and physical wellness.
“I have multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. This has forced me to re-evaluate my lifestyle and take better care of myself. I follow a healthy diet which helped me to not only feel better, but also to lose weight and reduce my risk of aggravating my conditions. Since my diagnoses I’ve also made regular exercise a part of my lifestyle because I know I feel better when I exercise and that it has a positive effect on my health. I also make sure that I follow my treatment plan and take my prescribed medication. When I had the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the booster dose, I did so immediately because I know that I have a greater risk of becoming severely ill. The road is not always easy, but I know that my health is my responsibility. I’ve learnt that managing my chronic conditions is not only the responsibility of my healthcare team. I must also do my part by going for regular check-ups and following a healthy lifestyle. We must never underestimate the impact we have on our own health journey. I am also a mother, so it is also important to set a good example for my son so that he lives a healthy, balanced life.”
The Western Cape Government Department of Health and Wellness are now focusing on addressing the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on health outcomes, especially people with chronic conditions such as TB, HIV/Aids, and child immunisation. A key aspect of improving health outcomes, is the role people with chronic conditions play in managing their condition and the associated risks by living a healthy lifestyle, following their treatment plan, and going for regular check-ups.
“Tuberculosis is a curable and treatable disease and is one of the areas in which we have seen an effect post-lockdown. Our teams are now putting in a lot of effort to get people living with TB whose treatment has been interrupted, back on treatment and to support them to complete their treatment. This also relates to diabetes and other chronic conditions. Now is the time to make your health and wellness a ‘top priority’. It is time to get back into healthy habits such as regular exercise, a healthy diet and regular health check-ups,” says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
Minister Mbombo says it is important to understand that wellness encompasses more than only physical health, but also relates to our mental wellness. “If you or someone you know lives with a mental health condition, you can go to your local clinic where a healthcare worker will assess you and offer appropriate care. You can also contact the South African Anxiety and Depression Group (SADAG) to join a support group or for more information.”
Head of Health and Wellness, Dr Keith Cloete, says that “we want the people we serve to know that they matter and that we aspire to become a health system that will support them to live healthy and longer lives. Our 2030 vision for the Department is disease prevention and access to patient-centred, quality care. As we commemorate World Health Day, we remind everyone that health is everybody’s business. Let us take collective action to address the burden of disease, increase the wellness of communities, and ensure patient-centred quality care for YOU. This will help ensure a healthier tomorrow.”
Tips for a healthier lifestyle:
- Make time for regular exercise
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet including a variety of foods
- Visit your local clinic for regular check-ups
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
- Quit smoking, no amount of smoking is healthy
- While we can’t always escape stress, managing stress effectively is important for a healthy lifestyle
- Chronic patients: Join a support group closest to you or enquire on how you can start a group. To join a group, ask your local clinic for more information on their chronic club
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and avoid serious illness, hospitalisation, and the risk of suffering from long-term COVID-19
Western Cape on Wellness (WoW!)
WoW! is a healthy lifestyles partnership initiative of the Western Cape Government and its valued partners. WoW! aims to enable people to make healthy lifestyle choices throughout our life course – from planning pregnancy and birth to youth, adult and senior years. Choices we make today about how we live, the types of food we eat and drink, and how often we do physical activities affect our future health. Visit Western Cape Government Health’s WOW! Webpage at www.westerncape.gov.za/wow.