Monday, January 26, 2015

Testing and Social Mobilisation Programme produces positive results

 The Carryou Ministry Testing and Social Mobilisation programme, carried out in partnership with the Gauteng Government, is producing significant, positive, results.
 This is according to Programme Manager, Mzi Tshikitsha.
 "We are seeing definite changes in the lifestyles and habits of many in the communities we serve," he says. "People are using condoms, not only themselves but are also distributing them to friends. This project has been going for five and a half months and, in that period, I estimate we have distributed close to 450 000 male and female condoms.
 "The main reason for that, is we are delivering condoms directly to the communities, making them more accessible and available. People no longer have to visit a clinic that is often far away from where they live," he says.
 "Although we do not yet have the final numbers, all indications from our testing programmes, show the rate of new HIV infections is falling dramatically."


 But Mzi is quick to acknowledge there are challenges.
 "Youngsters, particularly boys, believe they are immortal and know it all," he says. "There is sometimes resistance because they figure they've heard it all before. But the fact is, things are constantly changing. For example, the treatment today is very different from what it was not long ago.
 "Over the next few weeks we plan to increasingly run the programme in schools in the area," says Mzi.
 The Testing and Social Mobilisation Programme sees pop-up facilities set up in communities, factories and schools, for example. Co-ordinators are there to provide health education and counselling and members of the public can get free testing for HIV, diabetes, TB, cervical cancer and high blood pressure.
 Affected people are referred to appropriate healthcare professionals, social workers and counsellors.
 "But prevention and precaution will always be better than cure," says Rev. Lawrence Mabaso, Carryou Ministry, General Manager, "and, in the future, Government may well place even greater emphasis on education and the prevention of these diseases.
 "With an ever-increasing demand for limited social welfare resources, that makes sense."

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