Category: <span>World Day</span>

World No-Tobacco Day – 31 May 2021

World No-Tobacco Day – 31 May 2021

 The theme from this year’s World Health Organisation World No-Tobacco Day on 31 May 2021 is “Commit to Quit”.

Research has shown that many smokers have tried to quit but believes that they have ‘failed’ as they are still smoking. However, each attempt shows what method does not work for that individual, and maybe another technique will. 

Some people just decide to stop one day. Others prefer to do it gradually. Here are some tips to help you change your smoking patterns.

The main thing is not to do this on your own but to establish a support system for those who have the same goal. Surround yourself with others who also want to quit. This buddy system will encourage you during difficult times. Share with your family and friends your commitment to quitting. They will support you in

achieving your new smoke-free life.


  • Choose a date on which you plan to quit, but avoid a date during a stressful time such as exams.  
  • As a smoker, your hands would be fidgeting with matches or holding a cigarette. 
  • Decide on how you will keep your hands busy by using a stress ball or playing with elastics.
  • Plan how you are going to manage when you stop. 
  • You are breaking a long-standing habit, so write down why you smoke and why you want to stop.
  • Start breaking the habit of reaching for a packet by putting elastic bands around the packet to make it difficult to open.  
  • Break your usual pattern by holding the cigarette in the other hand or smoke a brand you don’t like. 
  • If you smoke immediately when you get out of bed, then try and delay that first cigarette till later.

 On the quit day 

  • Get rid of all reminders of the old smoking days, such as ashtrays and lighters.
  • Take deep breaths as this will help to handle stress.
  • When the urge to smoke strikes: drink a glass of water or do something physical like washing windows or going for a walk. 
  • Have healthy things to nibble, e.g. raisins, seeds, chewing gum. 
  • Chat to your support buddies. 
  • Keep chatting. 
  • Keep busy.

 Danger signs

Many people drink alcohol and smoke at the same time. Avoid these things, these places and even those friends until you feel strong enough not to smoke and party. 


Within two weeks of quitting the cigarettes, the sense of smell and taste will have returned to normal, as well as your blood pressure. Circulation will start improving, and energy levels will increase as bronchial tubes relax. All nicotine will have left your body. Oxygen levels will return to normal. The chance of having a heart attack will have decreased.


Make a note of all the money you are saving and use if for a treat because you are doing so well. Encourage the young people around you to not even start smoking.

Make use of quitlines and useful websites:

National Council Against Smoking Quitline – 011 7203145

CANSA Call Centre – 0800 22 66 22

Today is World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is marked every year to increase awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes.

Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the “missing millions”. Learn more here:


Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. Each type of hepatitis is caused a different virus and the 5 main hepatitis viruses are:

HEPATITIS A is spread mainly through eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated by the faeces of an infected person. It can also be spread by eating raw shellfish that have come from water contaminated by sewage.

Hepatitis A is preventable by vaccine. It spreads from contaminated food or water or contact with someone who is infected.

HEPATITIS B is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids (i.e. saliva, semen and vaginal fluid) of an infected person. It can be passed on from mother to child during childbirth.

Globally some 250 – 400 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B, with sub-Saharan Africa (sSA) and South-East Asia being disproportionately affected. Compared with the 1.5 million deaths annually due to HIV/AIDS, which are declining, hepatitis B mortality is on the rise with 500 000 – 1.2 million deaths annually. This relates in part to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the fifth most common malignancy and the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, despite the fact that hepatitis B is an entirely vaccine-preventable disease.

HEPATITIS C is mainly spread through blood-to-blood contact. In rare cases it can be transmitted through certain sexual practices and during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be more severe and is the most deadly, but even those with acute illness can recover without lasting liver damage. Up to 70% of those chronically infected with hepatitis C develop chronic liver disease, and up to 20% develop cirrhosis.

HEPATITIS D is spread through contact with infected blood through unsafe injections or transfusions.

Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is a virus that requires hepatitis B virus (HBV) for its replication. HDV infection occurs only simultaneously or as super-infection with HBV. The virus is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids.

HEPATITIS E is mainly transmitted through eating food or drinking water that’s been contaminated by the faeces of an infected person. It can also be spread by eating raw shellfish that have come from water contaminated by sewage.

Hepatitis E usually resolves on its own within four to six weeks. Treatment focuses on supportive care, rehydration and rest.

All of these viruses cause short term, or acute infection. However the hepatitis B, C and D viruses can also cause long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis, which can lead to life-threatening complications such as liver failure and liver cancer.


When a patient reports the following symptoms viral hepatitis is likely and can be confirmed by blood test. These symptoms include:

  • fever,
  • tiredness,
  • abdominal pain,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • darkening of urine,
  • loss of appetite, and
  • jaundice (yellow colouring of the skin and white of the eyes).


If you experience any of these potentially serious symptoms you need to see a doctor immediately:

  • persistent vomiting for longer than 6 hours,
  • extreme drowsiness, confusion or restlessness,
  • unusual bruising or bleeding, and/or
  • if jaundice continues for longer than 3 weeks.


  • providing safe food and water (hepatitis A and E),
  • practising good hygiene and sanitation,
  • having safe sex,
  • safe vaccinations (hepatitis A, B, and E),
  • avoiding getting tattoos or body piercings from unlicensed facilities,
  • screening of blood donations and provision of sterile injecting equipment, and
  • reducing the risk of infection by not sharing needles, razors etc. with someone’s who’s infected (hepatitis B and C).

It’s important for you to be aware of hepatitis and to learn how you can protect yourself and your family from being infected. Transmission of this virus can be prevented through better awareness and services that improve vaccinations, safer injections and blood transfusions, and to reduce long-term damage and harm.

Watch this video to learn more:

WORLD AIDS DAY – 1 December 2019

1 December 2019 was WORLD AIDS DAY

This year, World AIDS Day is themed “Communities make the difference”

Communities contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways. Their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre and leaving no one behind. Communities include peer educators, networks of people living with or affected by HIV, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers, women and young people, councilors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists.

Some stark statistics

  • Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people living with HIV.
  • More than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
  • The total number of people living with HIV is estimated at approximately 7,97 million in 2019.

 Frequent assumptions and questions

It’s important to remember that HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. When someone is described as living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), they have the HIV virus in their body. A person is considered to have developed AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) when the immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off a range of infections with which it would normally cope.

True or false: You can get HIV from a mosquito bite?
Answer: False

It is physically impossible for a mosquito (or any other insect which bites mammals) to transmit HIV. Firstly, the HIV virus can’t survive in or on an insect. Secondly, these insects only suck blood up, they do not inject blood back in.

HIV can be transmitted by two of the following routes.

a) Sharing needles or syringes / YES

b) Kissing someone / NO

c) Sex without a condom with someone who has HIV but has an undetectable viral load / NO

d) Spitting / NO

True or false: Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, can prevent HIV transmission even when a condom isn’t used.

Answer: True.

If used correctly, PrEP is effective against preventing HIV. However, it does not prevent against other STIs or pregnancy. More info: A person can take Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, to prevent themselves from acquiring HIV. PrEP is a medication which is highly effective at preventing HIV transmission, when used as directed.

What are the benefits of HIV treatment?

a) It prevents sickness and gives you a normal life expectancy

b) It suppresses the virus so that you can’t pass it on

c) Both of the above

Answer: (c) Both of the above

More info: HIV treatment is extremely effective and an HIV positive person on treatment can now lead a full and active life and has a normal life expectancy. HIV treatment also has preventive benefits. It reduces the level of HIV in the body to what is clinically referred to as an ‘undetectable viral load’ (this normally takes around six months from starting treatment). If someone’s viral load is undetectable, that means that they cannot pass on HIV, even when having sex without condoms.

“Like” the UNAIDS Facebook page:
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World Day of Remembrance exists to pay tribute to road traffic victims and their families, as well as to recognize the work of professionals who act after a road crash.

The type of road mobility that is in place throughout the world still fosters an unbearable number of deaths, serious injuries and illnesses every year, both as the immediate consequence of road traffic crashes and through air pollution.

Here are some scary statistics published by the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration:

– Each year nearly 1.3 million people die as a result of a road traffic collision— more than 3000 deaths each day

— More than half of these deaths are of people who are not even travelling in a car.

– 20 to 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries from a collision, and these injuries are an important cause of disability worldwide.

– 99% of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, which claim less than half the world’s registered vehicle fleet.

– Road traffic injuries are among the three leading causes of death for people between 5 and 44 years of age.

To read the “Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020, follow this link:

World Day of Remembrance




World Diabetes Day

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease but people with diabetes can live long, healthy lives with good diabetes management. This includes managing not only blood glucose (glycaemia) but also risk factors for complications such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These can be managed with a healthy diet, regular physical activity and the correct use of medication as prescribed by a health provider. People with diabetes require access to regular and organised healthcare delivered by a team of skilled providers.

People with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin treatment, regular blood glucose monitoring and a healthy diet and lifestyle to manage their condition effectively to delay or avoid many of the complications associated with diabetes.

The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes management is a healthy diet, increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight. Oral medication and insulin are also frequently prescribed to help control blood glucose levels.

A healthy diet for people with diabetes includes reducing the number of calories in people who are overweight, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, eating dietary fibre, and avoiding tobacco use, excessive alcohol and added sugar.

Physical activity is most effective when it includes a combination of both aerobic (eg. jogging, swimming, cycling) exercise and resistance training, as well as reducing the amount of time spent being inactive.

For people with type 1 diabetes, an uninterrupted supply of high-quality insulin is essential for survival. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many countries. Almost 100 years since insulin was first used to treat type 1 diabetes, many people with diabetes continue to have difficulty accessing affordable and regular insulin to manage their condition.

The full provision and availability of injection and monitoring equipment are even lower, and the cost of blood glucose supplies often exceeds the cost of insulin, especially in some of the poorest countries.

The primary aim of the World Diabetes Day (WDD) is to raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and to promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of the condition.

The WDD 2019 has three main focus areas (click on the links to learn more):

Discover diabetes
Prevent type 2 diabetes
Manage diabetes


When posting to social media about World Diabetes Day, use the hashtag #WorldDiabetesDay