Call for citizens to get tested
KWAZULU-NATAL Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has thrown his weight behind a programme to accelerate mass public screening and testing for diseases, which was announced by the province’s Premier Willies Mchunu earlier this week.
Speaking after presenting the budget speech for his office in the Provincial Legislature, Mchunu said the government would launch a major screening programme throughout the province, focusing on prevalent diseases such as cancer, TB, HIV and various lifestyle diseases.
The premier noted the challenges in health care the province faced, and some of the success stories.
“The province is witnessing less HIV and Aids related deaths. About 52.6% of HIV positive people have been placed on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment in the province. However, efforts need to be intensified in preventing new infections. The prevalence of diseases remains one of our major concerns,” he said.
He added that the programme would start “at home” with the provincial executive committee, the Office of The Premier and proceed to the Department of Health and all other Departments. Political heads were expected to drive the programme in their regions.
“This is just one way of encouraging people to take care of their health by screening and not waiting to get sick before they check their health.”
MEC Dhlomo called on all sectors of society to support the programme.
“We are very happy with the call made by the premier in support of the State of the Nation Address, where the President Ramaphosa called for all South Africans to prioritise going to screen and test and check if they have any illnesses.
“I implore all of us in the department to do everything humanly possible to support all MECs in their respective districts, where they are the political champions. Screening for diseases is free.
“We want to say, any country that screens and tests its citizens and preaches the gospel of disease prevention is a focused country. It prepares its citizens. With the mass health screening of our fellow compatriots we will get to know what ailments they suffer from and how to really look after them.”