2 December 2021 Media Release: Employees offered health checks on World AIDS Day

Media Release: Employees offered health checks on World AIDS Day

For Immediate Release
2 December 2021

With 1 December that marked World Aids Day, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Unit arranged voluntary HIV testing and HIV/AIDS awareness sessions for GRDM employees. Each employee received a red ribbon seeing that the red ribbons are a symbol of support for those living with HIV and wearing them creates awareness about World AIDS day. The main focus of the day was to increase awareness and knowledge around HIV/AIDS. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day – End inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.

Testing is also a primary way of ending the spread of HIV. Only those who know their HIV status will be able to take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their partners.

Employees were also presented with the option to get tested for blood sugar and blood pressure. Tests were done by representatives from the Western Cape Government (WCG) and Bethesda. These stakeholders also facilitated family planning and health-related education sessions.

According to Ms Shandré Abrahams (EAP Practitioner), When sharing her plans for the 2022 calendar year, Ms Abrahams said: “Sessions will be arranged annually during March (Tuberculosis), August (Women’s Month), November (Men’s Health) and December (HIV, etc.)”.

Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen, also had some tests done at the mobile clinic from WCG, and with his permission, Jacoleen Feed, a Health Promoter from WCG, shared the test results of the Mayor: “Mayor Booysen’s tests looked great for his age group”.

“He had his blood pressure tested twice because the first results were a bit high, but his second result turned out great – he was probably a bit nervous when he had his first test done,” said Ms Feed.

WCG’s rollout of mobile clinics brings diagnostic healthcare closer to communities, and in this case, a workplace. It is therefore convenient for those getting tested to access mobile units. At a workplace, like GRDM, it is an easy way to roll out consultations and examinations without arranging transport or requesting all employees to go to a clinic for testing.

Adv. Sinekaya Maqekeni (Manager: Integrated Support Services and Legal Compliance) with Ms Trix Holtzhausen (Executive Manager: Corporate Services) who holds a candle that was lit in remembrance of those who have died of Aids-related illnesses.

All employees were also invited to a candle-lighting ceremony in remembrance of those who have died of AIDS-related complications.

The GRDM encourages the public to have health checks done frequently. On World AIDS day, GRDM encouraged those living with HIV to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. It helps a person live a full, healthy, and productive life by suppressing the virus and ensuring it is not transmitted to others.

Editor’s note: The EAP is designed to assist the identification and resolution of problems associated with employees impaired by personal concerns, but not limited to health, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress or other personal matters and addictions, which may adversely affect employee’s performance.

Feature image caption: Seated is Ms Jacoleen Feed (WCG Health Promoter) with Ald. Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor). At the back (fltr): Mses. Maymoonah Abrahams (Intern: EAP), Shandré Abrahams (EAP Practitioner), Leana Hartzenberg (Bethesda), Nomkitha Mhlontlo (Intern: Communications), Thabisa Nqoza (HIV Counsellor from WCG), Patience Shipalane (WCG Nurse) and Bareniq Klase (Bethesda)