Men’s Health Services: Reaching out to men in Khayelitsha
Boys don’t cry… That’s the myth many men have been raised with. Some men believe that seeking health care assistance has a direct impact on their masculinity and thus only seek medical assistance when they are sick or injured. Going for frequent health check-ups is often unheard of.
Boys, youth and men of all ages are encouraged to take good care of their health. Particularly men over 40 are more inclined to develop health conditions; therefore it is important to go for medical check-ups every year. Regular check-ups for cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes are vital for the early detection of illnesses.
To raise awareness about men and their health and to sound the alarm about early detection, the Western Cape Government Health will have “mobile health pop-ups” in Khayelitsha (23 & 24 February) and Mitchells Plain (3 March) to take critical health services into the space of men. Here men will be able to have a wide range of free health screen tests e.g. cancer, blood pressure, blood sugar, TB and HIV screening and cholesterol levels. This kind of screening will help identify any potential illnesses that might occur before symptoms start to show – without men having to go to a health facility.
This outdoor initiative follows a series of health activations which the Department has embarked on over the last year. Previously, health activations around Women’s Health and HIV/AIDS brought much success and allowed the Department to reach those people who are either reluctant to go to their clinic or who’s circumstances are such that they cannot go to the clinic for a check-up.
The Western Cape Mortality Report (2013) found that Interpersonal Violence (IPV), HIV/AIDS and ischaemic heart disease remained the top three causes of premature mortality between 2009 and 2013 amongst men. With IPV as the leading cause of premature mortality in 2013. IPV deaths were highest in males aged 20-30 years, and age standardised IPV rates were highest in Cape Metro sub-districts of Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Klipfontein and Tygerberg.
Hopefully this men’s health initiative will help establish positive health seeking behaviour and address IPV trends in communities, encouraging all men to look after their health by going for regular check-ups.
“This year our focus is patient centered care and thus we are making an effort to ensure that all Western Cape community members including men use our facilities. Going for regular check-ups will not make them less masculine but will eliminate any health risks they might be facing. We need to move away from treating diseases mentality to that of prevention;” said Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Health Minister.
What can you do to improve your health:
Avoid heavy drinking
Heavy drinking can lead to many problems, including high blood pressure, various cancers, psychological problems, interpersonal violence and accidents. For men 65 and younger, drinking in moderation means no more than two drinks per day. Men older than 65 should have no more than one drink a day.
Managing stress levels
Balancing work and family obligations can be challenging. But it's important to protect your mental and physical health.
Keep in shape
Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. You should do at least thirty minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. You can wash your car, you can walk with your kids, or you can take up a sport.
Balance your diet
Eating a normal amount of healthy food will help with weight control. Cut out fried food, drink at least eight glasses of water daily, have less salt and sugar, eat five different fruit or vegetables every day.
Start taking care of your health today by going for regular free testing and screening at your local clinic or join us at the outdoor activations on:
23 & 24 February – Khayelitsha Mall, 10h00 – 15h00
3 March – Liberty Promenade Mall, Mitchells Plain, 11h00 – 15h00
Principal Communications Officer: Khayelitsha & Eastern Substructure
Western Cape Government: Health
Tel: 021 360 4702
Cell: 071 315 3581