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The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s Veterinary Services have tested about 2600 cattle for Bovine Brucellosis in the Severn area in the Joe Morolong local municipality recently.

Bovine Brucellosis is a chronic disease that causes abortions and reduces fertility in cattle. It is caused by Brucella abortus bacteria. It is mainly spread between herds through the introduction of infected cattle and within herds when infected cattle abort or give birth. During the birthing process, millions of bacteria are released into the environment. Cattle are curious by nature and will sniff and lick an aborted foetus or afterbirth. Brucella organisms then enter the animal through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. The incubation period is highly variable, ranging from a few weeks up to many months before an infected animal tests positive. This makes testing and removing positive animals a challenge.

Once an animal is infected, there is no treatment to effectively cure the disease - the animal should be slaughtered to remove it as a source of infection to healthy animals.

The samples from the animals were sent to the department’s laboratory in Kimberley for testing, where results are normally released within three to four weeks.

Severn is about 70 km from the Botswana and South African borders in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality.

The campaign is part of government’s effort to deliver and speed up services to communities, especially to the far-flung areas of the province.

The campaign was also used as a platform to give farmers practical advice and guidance regarding their farming. Farmers were also educated about the understated zoonotic implications of Bovine Brucellosis. When the disease is transmitted to humans, it causes severe debilitating signs.

The department would like to thank the farmer’s unions for their cooperation in making this campaign a success. Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

 

After four years in the district doing various projects revolving around healthcare delivery Path is winding up its projects by December.

At a workshop held at the El Dorado Motel on August 26, 2016 all stakeholders converged to deliberate on how the gap being created by Path could be filled for continuity.

The district project manager Ms Maserame Oss said that positive strides have been achieved during the period. As a result, the organisation held a stakeholder workshop aimed at making a summary of events and the way forward.

Ms Oss said that it was imperative that stakeholders reflect on the pros and cons of the four-year programme conducted by PATH. Equally important to the organisation was to understand whether or not fellow stakeholders, that include government departments (health, social development, education and municipalities) and community based organisations, would adopt and continue running programmes using Path tools or methodologies. This includes community based tools and clinical tools.

The community based model is that of collecting data from households used as a basis for training.

The clinical method is geared towards quality improvement as a standard operational procedure and a child friendly audit tool that can be adoptable by the stakeholders. BHP Billiton was an integral actor in the programme.  

The Northern Cape MEC for Health, Lebogang Motlhaping, recently celebrated the important milestone achievement reached by the province with the RSA-Cuban medical programme, where 33 medical doctors were produced to service Northern Cape communities.

Out of this 33, there are graduates who hail from deepest far flung rural areas such as Heuningsvlei, Bothitong in John Taolo Gaetsewe,  Delportshoop and Warrenton in Frances Baard, as well as Paballelo in the ZF Mgcawu district.

The Northern Cape Department of Health is a regular participant in the RSA Cuban scholarship rogramme since 2001 in terms of the bilateral agreement entered into between South African and the Cuban government which was signed off by both the late former president, Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro in 1996.

Due to the high demand for medical doctors especially in the poor rural areas, the ministry of the National Department of Health embarked on negotiations with the Cuban government on possibilities of increasing the intake of new medical students annually. Thus, a new agreement was concluded on 25 May 2012.

The production of medical doctors who are imbued with preventative methodological skills will greatly enhance the health system in this province.

NC Department of Health

 

As underground water gets depleted, many borehole taps are increasingly emitting a fizzy but liquidless sound - much to the despair of the communities of the John Taolo Gaetsewe district.

Residents in many villages around Kuruman have raised alarm as they are faced with a critical shortage of water due to incessant drying boreholes. The impending problem has resulted in the steady rise of residents fetching water from distant areas where taps are still squirting out the precious liquid. One of the concerned residents, Mr Boitumelo Nkwe from Mapoteng village in Kuruman is appealing to government and the corporate community to come to the rescue of villagers. Both Ga-Segonyana and Joe Morolong residents face the deepening dilemma. Asked how the communities could be assisted, Mr Nkwe said that the diminishing number of taps with water means that villagers have to walk long distances to access water. He stressed that proximity to water is becoming a disillusion to many people and most residents have to travel in search for water. He said that the supply of water by municipalities has to be emphatically intensified and also suggested that willing organisations provide hippo rollers to communities to simplify ferrying of the liquid from source to homes. The rollers make life easier as is witnessed by Seodin residents who received them early this year for the same purpose.            

The Department of Health has deemed it ideal to advise the youths during the Youth Month on how to protect themselves from communicable diseases that include HIV infection.

A media communiqué from the provincial office released on June 15, 2015 advocates that the youths take precautionary measures if they decide to indulge in sexual activities before marriage.

The call comes at a time when the John Taolo Gaetsewe region’s statistics are not so pleasing in the direction of HIV and tuberculosis infections.

The department is also appealing for open discussions between partners on issues pertaining to HIV statuses. In the event of infection, the department equally advises the youths to take intervention steps by visiting health care centres to receive medication on time. All health facilities have enough stock of both male and female condoms for protection against sexual transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

Family planning methods, for example oral contraceptives, implants and injections applicable means are also freely available for dual protection against pregnancy. Youth should concentrate on their empowerment before starting families as babies are expensive and a challenge to maintain.

The Northern Cape Department of Health offers free male circumcisions (MCs) at health facilities. Research has proven that MC improves hygiene, reduces HIV infection by 60%, some STIs and penile cancer. Men can make an appointment at the nearest health facility for the procedure. Circumcised men however should always correctly use condoms for protection against STIs, including HIV and AIDS. 

 

As the adage states “Prevention is better than cure” the Northern Cape Department of Health is calling on all parents and guardians of young girls aged 9 years and above currently in Grade four (4) to sign consent forms for their daughters to receive the second dose of 2016 HPV vaccination. Every girl must receive at least two doses of the vaccine for full effectiveness.

The second round of the HPV campaign started on August 2, 2016 and will continue until September 6, 2016 and is conducted in schools. Consent forms were distributed at all public schools as girls cannot be vaccinated without valid consent from parents or guardians. The aim of this vaccination campaign is to protect young girls against contracting cervical cancer later in life. The effectiveness of the vaccine is very high if they receive the vaccine before their sexual debut. No girl that is younger than 9 years old can be given the vaccine. The vaccine that is used for this campaign is Cervarix.

Statistics indicate that one in every eight women will die in South Africa from complications of cervical cancer. About 80% of cervical cancers are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Annually about 6000 new cases of cervical cancers are reported in the country with about half of them fatal. HPV infection can be prevented but unfortunately cannot be treated. It can sometimes not be easily noticed unless a pap smear is done. Persistent infection with HPV can cause cancer of the cervix.

The target group for the second round of 2016 HPV is as follows:

All girls in grade 4 in all public schools, who received their first dose in February or March 2016 will receive their second dose

All girls born in the year 2005 in special schools, who received their first dose in February or March 2016, will receive their second dose

All girls that received their first dose in February or March in 2015 and did not receive the second, will receive their second dose now

All girls who missed their second dose in September or October 2015 due to absenteeism or illness or not having had valid consent, will receive their second dose.

 

NC MEC for Health honourable Lebogang Motlhaping

South Africa is currently suffering one of the worst droughts in recorded history. This poses a major health risk to thousands of infants in drought ridden areas, which can be largely mitigated by simply supporting and encouraging breastfeeding mothers.

“Disaster areas are particularly dangerous for infants because their fragile immune systems struggle to cope with stressors like overcrowding, lack of access to clean water and lack of quality medical treatment” says Stasha Jordan, breastfeeding activist and executive director of the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR).

Diarrhoea kills over 2-million children under the age of 5 each year around the world. Up to 90% of deaths in emergency situations are due to diarrhoea. To compound this tragedy, many of these deaths are avoidable through breastfeeding.

Proper cleaning and sterilising of cleaning implements, surfaces and hands consume enormous amounts of water. Feeding an infant eight times a day on formula requires 24 litres of clean water per day, and about 170 litres per week.

Yet each time there is a humanitarian disaster, aid agencies are flooded with donations of breastmilk substitutes. This stems from a widespread misconception that, during disasters, women’s breastmilk is somehow compromised.

“Continuing to breastfeed is the single most healthy thing that they could do for their child,” Ms Jordan says.

Five of our provinces have already been declared disaster areas as a result of the drought, and millions of the country’s poorest people are struggling to access enough clean water. In that context, supporting breastfeeding mothers is more vital than ever.

“Together we can help prevent a humanitarian disaster and save the lives of thousands of infants,” Ms Jordan concludes.

To get involved and alleviate the challenges faced by the SABR, including low breastfeeding rates in South Africa, sourcing donor mothers and funding for the operation of the milk-banks, please visit www.sabr.org.za or call 011 482 1920 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

A three-day pain management training workshop was held on August 16-18, 2016 at Seodin community hall for professional nurses and community health workers.

The director of Hearts of Compassion, Mr Phillimon Malinga, said that the main purpose was to establish pain support groups within the community, clinics and hospitals. He said that in the upsurge of chronic diseases, infected and affected people face one common phenomenon - pain. He said that such a critical service is needed among the chronically ill patients.

While highlighting empathy as the nerve centre for the terminally ill patients, the organisation invited a medical lecturer in the field, Ms Christian du Toit from Johannesburg, to equip community health workers and professional nurses on how to handle these patients.

Community health workers advocate for adherence of these patients to avoid drug resistance while the professional nurses give out medication as so prescribed by doctors.

The organisation says time has come for pain support groups to be established in the midst of growing morbidity. The diseases enlisted in the establishment of these support groups are HIV and AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, asthma and many more conditions that are hardly curable.

Ms Du Toit said that pain by nature is composed of wings or categories, that is, psychological, physical, spiritual and socio-economic. She further said that it is essential to understand the nature of pain and hitherto apply therapeutic requirements that include, among others, diet, spiritual intervention and societal engagements. Such aspects, she reiterated, make a difference in prolonging life because they raise self-esteem.

A strong appeal was made to the effect that patients ought not confine themselves to bed all the time, but rather to take a walk, as this psychologically boosts hope.

In her closing remarks she said that palliative care is a philosophy that does not procrastinate (delay) nor precipitate (cause) death of a patient. It simply maintains dignity of life until the natural end with the elimination of pain and suffering.

 

Director for Heart of Compassion, Mr Phillimon Malinga                    

LoveLife is a South African non-governmental organisation, which implements a large-scale national youth leadership development programme with the overarching aim of building complete young leaders for a better future.

In line with this objective of youth leadership development, LoveLife conducted a born-free dialogue on 14 April 2016 in the Newtown community of the Tsantsabane municipal area. The born-free dialogue, which is a mediated conversation between parents and youth, took place at the White City soup kitchen. 

A team of specially trained youth facilitators, better known as groundbreakers, organised the event and the theme of the dialogue was drugs- and substance abuse. To bolster the dialogue and to ensure an integrated approach, professionals from other NGOs, like TADS and FAMSA, were also invited to participate in the event.

White City is a community plagued by youth gangsterism, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and youth unemployment. LoveLife has a team of eight youth workers who service the Newtown community on a daily basis. LoveLife’s youth centre in town, provides a hub for youth development services in the Tsantsabane municipal area.

“Our services includes free computer courses, grassroots sports, the promotion of arts and the support of the life orientation curriculum at schools,” centre manager, Hendrè Jacobs said. “A born-free dialogue serves to create a safe communication space between youth and parents,” Mr Jacobs concluded.

The dynamic youth leadership project of LoveLife in the Tsantsabane municipal area is made possible by the generous financial support of Kumba Kolomela mine.

 

Groundbreakers Wilmie Limani and Patricia Basson facilitate a dialogue between parents and youth at White City, Newtown.