Rotary Family Health Days was held on 8 November 2023 at the Kagisanong Hall in Rocklands. Distinguished guests such as the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dlhomo, and Free State MEC of Health, Mathabo Leeto, Rev Zwoitwaho Nevhutalu of SANAC, and Ms Sue Paget of Rotary attended the event.
Mothers’ and children’s health was the focal point of the event. Various speakers touched on non-pregnancy-related infections and the impact it has on the mother and child’s morbidity and mortality.
The spokesperson of the Free State Department of Health, Mr Mondli Mvambi, mentioned that this day is an integrated service delivery initiative where all health services are brought under one roof.
The former president of the Rotary Club of Bloemfontein Thabure, Ms Nozipho Sondiyazi, mentioned that the event was established and formed in 2013. ”At that point, the Department of Health initiated this drive to teach people about prevention and to instil healthy habits into the community.
Screening for various illnesses including HIV/AIDS, TB and cancer was present. Members of the community were also encouraged to conduct medical male circumcision.
As of November 2023, the Department is giving stable patients their ARVs for up to 4 months. Members above the age of 60 and on chronic medication were urged to register at local clinics for their medication to be delivered to their homes.
In a statement released by the department, it was said that non-pregnancy-related infections, including TB, remain one of the top three causes of maternal deaths in the province.
Data also indicates an increase in syphilis among pregnant women, thus increasing the risk of congenital syphilis in newborn babies.
Despite the province’s improvement in curbing HIV positivity at birth, there are concerns about the increasing positivity rates at 18 months. This contributes to the upsurge in deaths of the under-five population.
In other good news, the Department of Health is also implementing technological innovations such as the Bophelo App for improved ambulance tracking and response.