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Nov 28
HOMii Lifestyle event skilfully targets men’s health and men’s mental health issues

By: Lunga Memela (HST Communications Engagement Lead)

It goes without saying that women and children's health are a priority if we want to secure a bright future for all, especially in South Africa where cervical cancer, HIV and various non-communicable diseases remain a fundamental public health threat. Equally so, a dangerous gap exists where men's health and men's mental wellness are issues ignored or overlooked, compromising health efforts overall. 

Not addressing men's health issues has often been labelled as the cause, for instance, for movements such as the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign.

The Health Systems Trust (HST) was again invited to participate as a guest speaker at a critical event hosted by urban apartment dwelling enabler HOMii, honing in on the health and mental health issues faced by young men in support of National Men's Health Awareness Month. 

Casual and informal in its setting, the #HOMiiMensConference aimed to dismantle stigma by raising awareness through normalising the conversation and changing the narratives that may be holding men back from taking charge of their own health. 

HOMii invited guest speakers to spark conversations around finance in relationships, how men ignore the signs of depression, coping with stress and disease, black tax, and an array of other topics that were open for participation from the floor through roving microphones.

The only woman invited to the event was Amanda Khomo, a motivational speaker and author of two books: Losing A Loved On Through Death and Breakup, and Isodoma ne Gomora. She went into the heart of why men need to reconcile with their emotions to be able to express themselves and feel understood within their communities. Attendees were proud to hear a woman speak so positively about men and how men too need support.

As HST's Communications Engagement Lead, I highlighted some of the work the organisation has supported the Department of Health in rolling out and implementing. These include a MINA Men's Health Campaign and the province's impressive PhilaNdoda Campaign and Izibaya Zamadoda – all of which are encouraging men to take holistic charge of their health, thereby also protecting their loved ones. I also covered other topics including the importance of taking care of one's mental health, raising STI awareness and removing the stigma from visiting healthcare facilities and taking chronic medication as prescribed.

The event was attended by eThekwini Mayoral Affairs Health Promotion Officer for the South Sub-District, Simamisa Mkhize, who commended HOMii for hosting such an event and for promoting health amongst young men. He was happy to respond and advise on the many social ills faced by attendees during the proceedings.

The event was lauded for its targeted approach to these critical topics. 


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