Pregnant women, partners urged to visit clinics

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Health has called on pregnant mothers and their partners to make use of clinics to learn more about pregnancy and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

The department on Monday started a week-long campaign to educate communities about the dangers of unplanned pregnancies and the risks of being infected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and Aids, as part of Pregnancy and STI Awareness Week.

Health promoters will visit high schools across the province to address various topics linked to teenage pregnancy. This is aimed at empowering learners with information on reproductive health so that they can make wiser choices now and in the future.

Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo urged young men and women to know their reproductive health rights and responsibilities.

“Contraceptive services are freely available in all public health institutions. Young men and women are encouraged to practice the ABC strategy which is: Abstain, Be Faithfull and Condomise in order to avoid unplanned pregnancies and infections,” Papo said.

“The aim for all young men and women should be to delay engaging in sexual activities until they are old enough to take full responsibility for their actions.”

The department has seen a remarkable increase in the number of pregnant mothers who visit clinics for antenatal care before 20 weeks gestation.

More than 40% of pregnant women attended antenatal classes, allowing health professionals to identify pregnancy related complications at an early stage of the pregnancy and to ensure that they give birth to healthy babies.

This, according to the department, is an improvement from the 34.6% who attended antenatal care in the last financial year.

In the last financial year, 203 865 babies were born in health facilities across the province.

The department is currently conducting a campaign at Vaal University of Technology, which will focus on reproductive health for men and women, contraceptives, cancer and condom demonstration.

Male medical circumcision (MMC) will also be conducted on site at the University Clinic. MMC has proven to offer up to 60% protection from HIV.

New evidence also shows that circumcision has a significant impact on curbing the rate of new infections. – SAnews.gov.za

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