Sobantu Clinic launches youth ‘happy hour’

2016-07-13 06:00
PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile Nursing staff at Sobantu Clinic perform a musical item at the Youth Wellness Day.

PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile Nursing staff at Sobantu Clinic perform a musical item at the Youth Wellness Day.

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SOBANTU Clinic has set aside one hour every day to attend to youth health care as part of its Adolescents and Youth Friendly Services (AYFS) launched last Friday.

This was announced by Jabu Mkhulise, AYFS provincial programme co-ordinator at a Youth Wellness Day at the clinic.

Mkhulise said the programme was initiated by Love Life and the Department of Health after noticing an alarming rise in teenage pregnancy, youth being infected with HIV and high use of drugs leading to crime.

“Working with the government we then decided to create a programme to focus exclusively on young people. The youth usually complain about the treatment they receive when they visit health-care facilities. They complain of judgmental and overbearing nurses who give them the ‘third degree’. That is why we have trained a health-care professional to best suit their needs,” said Mkhulise.

Happy hour will be from 3pm to 4pm, during which the clinic will only see to young people in an area the clinic has specially set aside for them.

“We have also implemented what we call the ‘jump the queue’ service to accommodate school-going youth. If you come to the clinic in school uniform you will be attended to first, especially in the morning. We know that sometimes young people leave the clinic before they get the care they require,” she said.

Mkhulise said at the launch of the HIV Prevention Campaign for Girls and Women in the city recently, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa said nearly 2 000 girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 get infected by HIV every week.

“For KZN those numbers are especially high under Umgungundlovu District and this initiative is a way to try to reduce the numbers and also keep young people at school.”

Services offered to the youth include HIV testing and counselling, family planning, medical male circumcision, mental health care, counselling and educational talks.

The Youth Wellness Day programme included talks on drugs, teenage pregnancy and “blessers”.

Sibusiso Mthethwa from Fort Napier hospital warned young people about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol.

“The use of drugs poison your brain and might trigger long-term mental health problems, including anxiety, panic and paranoia. This affects not only you and your immediate family, but the entire community as you turn to a life of crime to continue to satisfy your addiction.”

Mthethwa said in order to win the fight against drugs, government must use the same model it implemented to combat HIV.

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