Healthcare Workers celebrate Women’s Month with Donation Drive
Driven by their passion to make a difference, healthcare workers at Stikland Hospital have collected more than 800 packets of sanitary towels to empower girls and keep them in school.
The hospital hosted a special Women’s Month event to empower staff and young girls this August, focusing on womanhood and awareness on gender-based violence.
Every year, in August, our country marks Women’s Month to pay tribute to the women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This year’s Women’s Month theme, Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Resilience, is a call to action to all people to take steps forward in responding to the most persistent challenges affecting the lives of women and girls.
One such challenge is access to menstrual products. Many girls face challenges with managing their periods as they do not have the means to do so. This has consequences for their life opportunities, including their health and education.
Senior clinical psychologist Tracey Delport-Williams says they hope to improve access to menstrual products for girls through their donation drive. During the hospital’s Women’s Month event, the Department of Psychology announced that the donations will be handed over to Scottsdene High School.
“The Monthly for Your Monthlies Campaign was conceptualised by the Department of Psychology at Stikland Hospital in an effort to educate and destigmatise issues around female reproductive health and also to empower women and girls. It is also known that many school-going girls are unable to attend school around the time of their menstruation due to issues around access, physical factors associated with menstruation such as menstrual pain, shame, cultural beliefs or financial stressors which are but some of the factors reducing young girls’ ability to attend school during this period.”
Activist Kelly Baloyi, who founded NPO Girls Leading Change, says many women may not have the means to embrace their womanhood. Kelly was a guest speaker at the Women’s Month event and created awareness on gender-based violence.
“I work with girls aged between 13 and 18. We teach leadership skills. During our sessions, girls would come to us and let us know that they have their periods and did not have any pads. We talk about embracing womanhood – but many young girls may not have access to pads.”
Menstrual health interventions, among other things, can help girls overcome these obstacles. Stikland Hospital CEO Lynette van der Bergh stressed the importance of interventions to support women and girls and called on women to support each other. “We need to stand tall, and we must not forget what the women of 1956 taught us, the power of solidarity and unity. We must never lose this as women. Today, I ask you as women, does your presence in your family, your community or workplace liberate others? Remember that question. You have a story and you have a journey. We can carry on the legacy of the women of 1956 and that agenda is that you and every woman matters.”
Other speakers at the Women’s Month event included activist Candice Manual, founder of the Embrace your Curves movement, which aims to empower women, as well as Shimmy Rose who presented a motivational talk and Zumba for healthcare workers.
Western Cape Government Health remains committed to promoting the dignity and health of women and girls in our province. As a department, our goal is to offer and promote services that give women the opportunity to lead full and opportunity-rich lives. You can access a range of free services at our clinics which includes:
- Support services during the various stages of pregnancy, birth, and early childhood.
- Family planning (“the pill”/birth control).
- Support to moms with young children (e.g., nutrition and immunisation).
- Cervical screening/pap smears.
- Menopause care.
- Mental health support.
- STI testing and counselling.
In addition, young women can access youth-friendly services at their nearest clinic. Youth can attend any clinic during operational hours to access healthcare, however, many facilities in the province have dedicated programmes and staff to support teenagers after school between 14:00 – 16:00 from Monday to Friday, to ensure their schooling is not disrupted. Some clinics offer these dedicated services from 07:00. All consultations are confidential. Visit your nearest clinic to access support today.