Eastridge residents march to promote healthcare services

The staff from Mitchell's Plain Community Health Centre, Cansa, Harvester Primary School's drilling squad and teachers were part of the march.

To promote Women’s Health Month, the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre (CHC), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and Mitchell’s Plain residents marched in Eastridge on Thursday September 1.

The awareness march was led by Harvester Primary School’s drilling squad.

Monique Johnstone, spokesperson for the provincial Department of Health, said the aim of the march was to promote the healthcare services at the facility, and the role that the Cansa community workers play by providing support to people diagnosed with cancer.

“This awareness campaign forms part of the department’s Healthcare 2030 strategy to promote wellness, strengthen women’s health and to continue to strive to improve patient experience and the quality of care for clients accessing the services at the Mitchell’s Plain CHC,” said Ms Johnstone.

Sister Zethu Xapile, the facility manager at Mitchell’s Plain CHC, said the event forms part of their 30th anniversary celebration and emphasised that the day hospital would continue to educate clients and provide quality healthcare to the community.

“We provide free women’s health services such as family planning, HIV/Aids tests and counselling, pap smears and extended woman and child health services from 4pm to 9pm,” she said.

Sister Xapile said the facility also offered free breast examinations to residents.

She added that if any suspicious breast cancer signs or symptoms were found, referrals were made to the breast clinic at the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital in Lentegeur. The clinic operates every Monday from 8am to noon and is run by a medical team from Groote Schuur Hospital and Mitchell’s Plain Hospital.

This clinic only takes referrals from other healthcare institutions in the Mitchell’s Plain area, and works via appointments only.

Jenny October from The Leagues is a cancer survivor and dedicated Cansa supporter. She joined the facility in spreading the message that cancer can be beaten, and encouraged women to go for their regular breast examinations.

“People over the age of 30 must go for their regular breast examinations and mammograms, the procedure is not painful at all just a bit uncomfortable. Respect your body and make yourself aware of the services available to you,” said Ms October.

Rene Petersen, community mobiliser for service delivery for Cansa, said the march was a great success. “Women often take care of everyone else but themselves, but their health is just as important. There are facilities in Mitchell’s Plain that offer these services and it is important that they use the free services,” she said.

Ms Petersen added that women between the ages of 18 and 35 who are sexually active should go for regular Pap smears and women from 35 should go for mammogram testing.

“Women, take care of yourselves – remember you cannot take care of your family if you don’t take time to look after your own health,” she said.