Health MEC’s wise words of warning

2015-06-17 06:00
PHOTO: supplied

KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo with young people during the launch of the Dual Protection campaign in Pietermaritzburg earlier this year.

PHOTO: supplied KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo with young people during the launch of the Dual Protection campaign in Pietermaritzburg earlier this year.

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WITH the history of the youth struggle in mind in 1976, MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo believes that young people today have to wage war against a new struggle of the scourge of diseases confronting them.

South Africa faces a quadruple burden of disease made up of the HIV/Aids epidemic and Tuberculosis, high maternal and child mortality, high levels of violence and injuries and a growing burden of non-communicable diseases.

“In this country, we still have a challenge of HIV and Aids, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and illegal abortions among young people. Far too many youth live a sedentary lifestyle, with no physical exercise, which makes them vulnerable to obesity and diseases like diabetes and hypertension. But if young people can take up the cudgels and begin to change their lifestyles today, there would be a significant dent in the burden of diseases in future. It is never too late to change, and we as the Department of Health are here to help them,” said Dhlomo.

He issued a stern warning about the dangers of substance abuse and teenage pregnancy.

“My message to young people is that alcohol and drugs are not good for you. When you drink alcohol and abuse drugs you are at increased risk of contracting and/or spreading STIs, including HIV.

“You are also at risk of falling pregnant. If you’re 16 and you deliver a child weighing 3,8kg, the chances of delivering safely are slim. It actually places your life and the baby’s in danger. This is something that all of us as society need to talk about and discourage. We should be encouraging our young people to abstain from sex, or practice safe sex at all times,” said Dhlomo

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