The Khayelitsha Mall resembled a miniature clinic last Thursday during a health awareness campaign as residents areas converged as health officials spoke at length about the dangers of diarrhoea.
The City’s J.P Smith said their major concerned was common ailments, which could be preventable.
“Particularly diarrhoea among children. During this time of the year when it’s very hot, diarrhoea runs rampant ... The number of diarrhoea cases grow very sharply. And it is the one of the leading causes of death, particularly for children under the age of five. Last year, about 20 children in Cape Town died because of diarrhoea,”.
Smith emphasised that this disease is preventable and that is evident based on the number of people died previously.
“No one should have to die because of diarrhoea. The figure in 2009/10 was 170, but has come down a lot. And we can bring it down more if we can educate people on some basic things.”
People were reminded to cook food on high temperature.
“Food must be properly cooked ... Make sure your hands are clean before you touch the food. When you cut cabbage and meat with the same knife wash it in between. This basic stuff is the difference between your child falling sick and surviving.”
at is a basic stuff which means you child won’t be affected by diarrhoea,” he said.
Smith advised parents to visit their nearest clinics for prevention.
“The child with diarrhoea gets dehydrated, which may lead to death.
You can rehydrate a child giving them a sugar solution.
Virginia De Azevedo, responsible for health in Khayelitsha, described the campaign as informative and promoting healthy living.
“We encourage people to cook just enough food for the day and make sure that there is no residual food(umbeko) to ensure that you eat fresh food every day.”
She added that people must cook their food properly to kill the bacteria and germs.
She said they also encourage the use of squeeze bottles to wash their hands with.
“Even though we are facing a water crisis, we still promote the washing of hands before people touch food and after using the room to avoid carrying germs to the child. Azevedo was upbeat about the turn-out. “It seems the people are heeding the call even though there will be some challenges where some people will take time to respond to the call,” said De Azevedo.
Mandela Park resident Funeka Mofana,35, described the campaign as a great initiative.
“We learned a lot about healthy living. Some of the things we took for granted.
We didn’t know that they are very important, like ensuring that food is properly cooked. And our children also received vitamin A,” she said. Mofana said she wished other departments can do the same and bring services closer to the people.