THIS month we will be looking at men’s health - and how men can take care of themselves and others.We want to help men learn more about preventing HIV, safeguarding their health, and setting goals for their futures.We know men are less likely to seek medical help and also that untreated mental health issues – such as depression - lead to a high suicide rate in men.
We want to share information and provide resources to men who are not sure where to ask.Here's a story from someone on the front line of providing mobile health services. Nhlanhla Zuma works for Health Systems Trust, an NGO which works to strengthen the public health system:My name is Nhlanhla Zuma and I am 41 years old.I work as a driver mobiliser in KwaZulu Natal’s Umgungundlovu district.I drive the mobile testing unit and we encourage people to come for HIV testing. I use a loudhailer as we drive around, to call on people in the community to find out their status. We focus on high risk areas like taverns and truck stops – for these people it is hard to get away from work and go to the clinic as they are always on the road. Instead we take these services to the people, when and where they need it. This makes the community feel that their health is also valued.We work from 11am to 7pm each day so that people can come to us after work. The most important thing is that we take the services to the community, when and where they need it. This mobile I am driving has two rooms inside, where people can be tested not just for HIV but also for TB, STIs and diabetes. Each mobile tests on average 12 people per day.At the truck stops our clients are mostly male. The truth is, some men are cowards, so they will send their wives to test and refuse to be tested themselves. This is what we call “testing by proxy” and it is dangerous, because they think that if their partner is negative, then they are as well. We really need a lot of education in the community, especially for men, so they can learn about HIV, condom usage, male circumcision and other health issues.To learn more about health issues please go to www.betteroffknowing.org.za or follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/betteroffknowing or Twitter @HST_health
Nhlanhla Zuma working to improve men's health. Photo by Rogan Ward
HEALTH SYSTEMS TRUST - CONTACT DETAILS
1 Maryvale Road, Westville, Durban, 3630
+27(0)31 266 9090