By: Lunga Memela (Communication Engagement Lead)
HST representative and MINA Campaign Champion, Sbusiso Mseleku informs attendees about the variety of services offered by the Health Systems Trust (HST).
Clinic nurses have expressed concern with the alarming number of schoolgoing youth presenting at facilities with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, or pregnancy, which can lead to depression and school drop-out. In addition, a number of girls and young women are interrupting school due to lack of access to menstrual sanitary pads.
These issues were highlighted at an event held in commemoration of Youth Day (16 June) at Umlazi Township's U-Section Clinic, where various health entities collaborated to promote good decision-making for health and education among local youth.
HST's Facility Team Lead, Sister Karen Mqokoso, said that in partnership with the Department of Health and eThekwini Municipality, SA SURE project staff initiate various activities geared towards improving the health and quality of life of local youth, and that such efforts will continue relentlessly.
These services include Family Planning; testing, counselling, treatment and care for HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and TB; Adolescent- and Youth-friendly Services (AYFS), male health campaigns, COVID-19 support, and interventions for sexual and gender-based violence.
Music, poetry, song and dance performed by local youngsters made the day's festivities. The learners and community members in attendance were addressed by Miss Luminous SA 2021, Thabile Makhanya.
The young people present said that their opportunities for a prosperous future were being hindered by social ills. They were encouraged to focus on education and to make sure that they one day become captains of industry.
This message was echoed by HST's MINA Campaign Champion, Sbusiso Mseleku, as well as the clinic's Operational Manager, Zwakele Shinga, who as one of an array of speakers, spoke about all things health. With youth accounting for 59.5% of the total number of unemployed persons in South Africa, Shinga said that good health and education form the main avenue towards a brighter future. "Let's decrease the number of young people in the clinics," said Shinga.
Umlazi U-Section Clinic's Operational Manager, Zwakele Shinga, thanks health organisations for showing up to motivate local youth.
The event was organised by Global Youth Shapers and attended by health research institutes such as the South African Medical Research Council, and non-governmental organisations such as the PinkDrive. HST mobile units were also on site to provide free health screening.
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