Men take pledge for better health, safer communities on International Men’s Day
Community members from Elsies River, Bishop Lavis and Bellville joined healthcare workers to celebrate International Men’s Day at the Metro Men’s Health Centre in Bellville on Friday, 19 November 2021.
For years, people around the world have marked the day to raise awareness on men’s wellbeing and to celebrate their contribution to their society.
This year, the theme for International Men’s Day is “Better Relations Between Men and Women.” The theme is in line with one of the six pillars of International Men’s Day, which is to improve gender relations and promote gender equality for both men and women.
In this light, the Metro Men’s Health Centre hosted an open day which featured health talks, including a talk on gender-based violence, healthy living and free healthcare services for men. The healthcare team’s vision is that every man, no matter their age or income, has the support they need to live a healthy life and to make healthy choices. The centre’s Dr Abdul Gaffoor Sungay says free healthcare services are available to all men and has called on them to take charge of their health to create healthier communities.
“Our centre’s doors are open to you. As men, we have to take responsibility for our health. We have a duty to our loved ones and our family. Not taking responsibility for our health or taking care of ourselves impacts both. If we have illnesses that need attention, early identification of an illness can massively improve our health. With this, I would like to encourage all men to visit us at the Metro Men’s Health Centre to have themselves checked out.”
The centre also invited its partners, Jhpiego, CANSA, ANOVA and Sonke Gender Justice, to address other issues affecting men’s health including mental health, prostate cancer, the benefits of medical male circumcision and more. Facility manager Sr Elizabeth Van Niekerk-Fortuin shares the inspiration behind their open day.
“With it being men’s month, we realised that everyone would be talking about men’s health this month. We will use every opportunity that we can to help men improve their health and to remind them that it’s okay to seek support when they’re not feeling well whether it be physically or mentally. I recently helped a patient who was diagnosed with an illness and was afraid to tell his partner or to seek further care. I’ve encouraged him and other men to seek help to protect their health and their families. As soon as you have any pain, discomfort or experience bleeding, visit us or your nearest clinic for support. Our team is ready to help you.”
Men were also invited to sign a voluntary pledge to take care of their health and to create safer communities during the open day.
Educational psychologist Quinton Adams led the pledge signing and urged men to step up to create healthier and safer communities for all.
“I encourage men to get involved to ensure that we bring down cases of gender-based violence, murder, hunger and poverty in our communities. You can become a powerful change agent in our communities. Our communities are in crisis… what we need are men who can stand up and who can get out of their house and who can be a solution and not a problem in our society.”
Bellville resident Allerick Koopman, aged 32, attended and shared that he felt empowered.
“I learnt so much today. I learnt that I could make a difference and that I can encourage other men to do the same. I will also encourage all men to visit the Metro Men’s Health Centre as we have a dedicated centre for men’s health. It’s time for us to take care of our health and our communities, we need to step up.”
Western Cape Government Health officially opened the state-of-the-art men’s health centre a year ago on Monday, 30 November 2020. The facility is a one-stop shop for wellness and chronic conditions screenings, HIV prevention interventions, treating sexually transmitted diseases, and offering medical male circumcision. Services are available to young boys and men.
All men are encouraged to access services at the centre. Boys who are aged 15–18 years old can also access the facility, but they will need a guardian to accompany them. Men who visit the facility can expect the following services, at no cost, to promote early diagnosis and treatment:
- Health education and promotion
- Wellness screening
- Vasectomy service
- Chronic disease screening (to identify and reduce the risk of any chronic diseases, such as strokes and diabetes)
- Voluntary medical male circumcision and aftercare treatment
- HIV Counselling & Testing
- Condom education and distribution
- STI treatment and education
The centre is open from Monday to Friday, from 07:00 until 16:00. Men can easily access this service by using the mobile appointment line to book their appointment. You can call or send a please call me to 079 530 2593, or use WhatsApp or your SMS service by sending the word “HI” between 08:00 and 15:30 from Monday to Friday. A healthcare worker will return your call to book your appointment.
Western Cape Government Health encourages all men and families of boys to make use of the free services at the men’s centre.