Men are scared to check status

2017-03-02 06:01
Nonkosi Mangolwane and Phumza Malote of St. Louis Hospice performing medical checkup to Patrick Kili, at Khayelitsha Mall on Thursday.PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

Nonkosi Mangolwane and Phumza Malote of St. Louis Hospice performing medical checkup to Patrick Kili, at Khayelitsha Mall on Thursday.PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Officials from the Western Cape Department of Health conducted a two day health awareness campaign at the Khayelitsha Mall, aimed at encouraging men to visit clinics and hospitals.

The reach-out programme was held on Thursday and Friday.

Gilboni Mati, manager for HIV/AIDS, STI and TB (HAST), said they have noticed that males drag their feet when they have to go to clinics or hospitals so now they are trying to change that.

“It is clear to us that males hardly visit clinics. They only go there when they are seriously ill, which is not right. There are diseases that need to be detected earlier, which symptoms cannot be easily seen. We want to change their mindset. They must take care of their health. I am happy to see a high number of males utilising the services that we brought to them here today,” Mati said.

Mati said they are planning to make the campaign continuously and rotate it to different areas.

The campaign which was named the “mobile health pop-ups” saw males enjoying the wide range of free health screen tests such as cancer, blood pressure, blood sugar, TB and HIV screening and cholesterol levels.

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 whose circumstances are such that they cannot go to the clinic for a check-up.

Patrick Kili, 53, a male who utilised the campaign, said he hardly goes to clinic.

“I do not go to clinic and the reason being that I am scared of finding out about the state of my health. There is a need for encouraging males, because that will help us to get help when we need it,” Kili said.

Ndiphiwe Mbedla, 36, said he only goes to the clinic when he feels really sick.

“I wait until I am really sick before I see the need for going to the clinic...the other reason is that resident spread false rumours about your sickness when they see you visiting clinic. That is why I think we end up sitting on our illnesses until we reach the point where we cannot ignore(our illness) anymore. That is dangerous on its own. Sometimes we go and buy some pain killers from tuck shops thinking it will help,” Mbedla said.

Phindile Yoyi, 46, said he tested for HIV, but he was not given a letter to show as proof at home.

“I am happy for what they are doing here. I used the chance to test for HIV, but they could not give me a letter as proof. I do go to clinic frequently, because I want to know early if I am sick. I also encourage residents in Harare, where I serve on the health committee, to visit clinics,” Yoyi said.

Zama Nkunjana, 28, said claims that males do not usually go to the clinic were spot on.

“It is true, we do not visit clinics. I believe we are scared more than anything to find out if we are sick. We are also impatient to wait in long queues in clinic. We go there when we are really sick which is dangerous for our health,” Nkunjana said.

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