Although Nokwazi Thabethe will admit to harbouring a few nerves on her first day as a facilitator for Project Dignity – the NPO extension of Subz Pants and Pads – after a few moments spent addressing the schoolgirls, she knew she had found her calling. “I was working in customer care at a contact centre and when I heard about the position as a facilitator for Subz, and I decided to go for it,” said the dynamic uMlazi resident. “I’ve been working with Subz since February and this is my Energade! I love talking about these issues and being out there with the kids.” Project Dignity has been distributing environmentally-friendly, reusable packs of Subz sanitary pads and accompanying panties to various schools for years. Founded by Sue Barnes, creator of Subz Pants and Pads, the NPO (Project Dignity) also uses the activation as a platform to address the schoolgirls on topics such as menstruation and body changes. Drawing on her extensive experience as a former outreach facilitator at Childline KZN, Nokwazi has really taken to her role as the Zulu facilitator for Subz, engaging with the girls and sharing useful insights. “I discuss various topics with the girls, explaining to them the changes to expect. I also tell them they shouldn’t be scared, but rather that it’s something to be happy about. Most of these girls are not able to afford sanitary wear and their reaction inspires and motivates me to make a difference all the time. I love being able to share with them, see them laugh and smile and give them hope… that really does it for me!” Nokwazi’s youthful energy, shared background and ability to communicate with schoolchildren on their level allows her to quickly build a rapport with these young girls, many of whom have nowhere else to turn when it comes to discussing such pertinent topics. “I share my personal experiences so that they feel comfortable and know that it’s normal to have these changes,” she explained. “I do the talks in English and isiZulu . . .
A new Netcare 911 paediatric intensive care ambulance has been specially designed and equipped to safely transport critically ill children who need to be transferred between hospitals to receive specialised care at an appropriate medical facility. “The Netcare 911 team identified a need for such an ambulance as children have very specific needs,” says Shalen Ramduth, director of business development and support services at Netcare 911, and one of the prime movers behind the introduction of the new vehicle. “A great deal of thought went into the design, with every consideration being given to ensuring that we can safely care for our critically ill young charges and that they are comfortable while being transported. The result is a dedicated paediatric intensive care ambulance, which we understand is the first of its kind in the country,” notes Ramduth. Ramduth explains that Netcare 911 operates a number of intensive care ambulances staffed by paramedics experienced in critical care, for patients whose health is so compromised that they require an intensive care environment while en route between hospitals to, as far as possible, ensure that they remain stable and safe during their transfer. “These ambulances have highly specialised life support equipment and essentially provide an intensive care environment for patients. Since their introduction a couple of years ago, they have safely transported hundreds of patients between hospitals,” he adds. “While our standard ICU ambulances can be used to transfer paediatric patients, we wanted to develop an ambulance that was specifically suited to meet the needs and requirements of child patients. The new paediatric intensive care ambulance can therefore also accommodate medical technologies specifically for children. It can, for example, carry a paediatric corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, for children who require both heart and respiratory support. Provision is also made to incorporate an . . .
A laser procedure to treat enlarged prostate, the most common non-cancerous prostate medical condition to develop in men by the time they reach their 60s, has been introduced to South Africa for the first time at Netcare Parklands Hospital in Durban. The procedure, the holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP), was recently successfully performed for the first time in the country by urologist, Dr Amit Kalpee, and his team on a Durban man with a severely enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). “A severely enlarged prostate causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms. HoLEP involves using a special high-powered laser to remove the gland and any tissue that causes obstruction of the urethra, through which the urine drains,” explains Dr Kalpee, who completed the European HoLEP Masterclass and is the first HoLEP surgeon in South Africa. “This resolves symptoms such as urine blockage, which can in turn cause bladder and urinary tract infections and potentially serious kidney complications if left untreated,” he adds. “The procedure is done under anaesthetic with the assistance of a tiny camera which together with the laser instrument is mounted on a fine telescopic rod that is inserted into the urethra via the penis.” Dr Kalpee says HoLEP is a modern alternative to the standard procedure known as transurethral resection of the prostate procedure (TURP) for bladder outflow obstruction due to enlarged prostate. HoLEP requires specialist training and takes slightly longer to complete than a TURP, but it is less invasive and has a number of advantages over this standard procedure. “There is less bleeding than after a TURP, and patients are often ready to be discharged from hospital the day after the procedure, much sooner than if a TURP was performed. Because enucleation is a much more precise procedure with the entire gland removed, recurrence of the problem does not occur. With HoLEP there is also no size limit of the . . .
As with many conditions and diseases, early detection and treatment of vision problems are key to a better prognosis. When it comes to children’s eyesight, early intervention is especially important because their developing eyes are more prone to long term damage. Children’s eyes should be checked by an optometrist regularly and when prescribed, corrective eyewear should be worn to prevent further strain or damage. “There is no benefit to postponing prescription eyeglasses for young children who need them. Their eyes will not become lazy or fail to develop properly if they wear eye glasses. In fact, failing to equip them with the corrective lenses they need can worsen their vision, because their eyes are at risk of long term damage as a result of prolonged and undue strain,” says Ruahan Naude, CEO at Dynamic Vision. Poor vision not only affects a child’s ability to see and understand the world around them but can affect so many other areas of their development. Their performance at school can be affected as well as their sporting and other extracurricular pursuits. Untreated vision problems can also affect a child’s cognitive, emotional, neurologic and physical development by limiting the range of experiences and the kinds of information to which the child is exposed. “Most of what children learn is through visual processing. Studies suggest that children with poor vision are three times more likely to fail their first year at school because they have trouble reading, seeing what is written on the board and other visual cues.” says Naude. He continues saying that vision issues are becoming more prevalent in today’s young children: “Children these days are doing more close-up reading tasks than their parents ever did thanks to the use of electronic devices like tablets and mobile phones. These devices are held much closer to the face than a book would be and this puts immense strain on eyes, especially young developing eyes. Too much strain over . . .
We all spend the first nine months of our lives in fluid and once we’re born hydration plays a vital role in our existence. Someone who is passionate about the health benefits of water is Tony Marchesini, managing director of H2O International SA. “Our bodies are 75 percent water and our major organs – brain, lungs, heart, liver and kidneys – are between 65 and 85 percent water. It’s vitally important to keep levels topped up with the best water we can lay our hands on, preferably purified with a high-end coconut-shell based granular-activated carbon, KDF/Riolyte filter,” he says. It’s true: our cognitive, breathing, digestive, temperature-control and blood systems all require us to be well hydrated in order to perform at optimal levels, but sweating, breathing and waste elimination cause us to lose up to three litres of water a day. What happens when we don’t drink enough water? Our body is forced to retain water, so our urine becomes more concentrated and much darker than normal. Waste can build up and clog the kidneys, causing kidney damage, and contributing to the formation of kidney stones. Believe it or not your brain literally shrinks and stops working as effectively if you don’t drink enough – that’s what’s happening when you get a headache after a strenuous workout. Water is incredibly important for the brain – it’s been proven that having a drink of water when you’re thirsty can boost your brain power by 14%. Other side-effects of brain dehydration are bad moods, lethargy and tiredness. When dehydration is severe, you might feel dizzy and confused, and may even experience chest pains. This can be due to acidosis caused by a decrease in pH levels due to electrolyte imbalance. This is dangerous as it may lead to heart and nervous-system complications unless quickly attended to. That’s all going on inside your body, but dehydration has an effect on your skin too. For some, the effects are obvious: dry, flaky, tight. For others, strangely . . .
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” ~ Bob Marley International Cancer Survivors Day is celebrated globally on the first Sunday of June each year, which will be on the 3rd of June this year. This is a day to celebrate the lives of survivors, give hope to the newly diagnosed and educate communities about the disease. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), around 150 per million children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer before the age of 15. In South Africa 70-80 per children are diagnosed and partly due to lack of knowledge, of those diagnosed most are in late stages, which lead to longer treatment, more disabilities and a lower survival rate. This can drastically improve with more knowledge shared about the disease. What is cancer? You may wonder. Your body is made up of thousands of cells – about ten trillion actually. Normal ones keep our bodies healthy, these cells grow and divide and stop when they should but sometimes they don’t know when to stop. Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells in the body often causing a growth or tumour. The following are the most common cancers among 13-20-year-olds. • Leukaemia - is a type of cancer that affects the blood and the bone marrow. • Lymphoma - there are 2 main groups of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In teenagers and young adults (15–24 years old), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is treated with chemotherapy whilst Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), may additionally require radiation therapy. • Brain Tumour - Primary brain tumours which start in the brain is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable way. They can also be metastatic from tumours elsewhere in the body. • Sarcoma - There are two main types of bone cancer in young people – Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma. Both are pretty rare and usually affect large bones like the thigh bone and the shin bone, but can also . . .
South African manufacturer of reusable sanitary pads, Subz Pants and Pads, is encouraging a ‘period positive’ attitude this Menstrual Hygiene Day – celebrated globally on Monday, 28 May – by asking people everywhere to share their reasons why #menstruationmatters on all digital platforms. “There has been an international #menstruationmatters campaign that highlights the historically negative association many cultures and nationalities have assigned to a biological process which is experienced by half the world’s population every month,” explained Sue Barnes, founder of Subz Pants and Pads as well as the NPO extension, Project Dignity. “Subz is united in this movement to make menstruation hygiene management a priority as it directly affects the self-esteem, health and education of every woman. We want to take this opportunity to celebrate womanhood by asking people to share their thoughts on why menstruation matters to them.” The stigma associated with menstruation impacts the lives of women everywhere. In certain cultures, women are ostracised from their family homes during their menstrual cycle because they are considered ‘unclean’, sometimes with fatal consequences. This false concept also sees women prevented from touching certain food, objects or people so as to prevent a perceived ‘contamination’. For the 2018 Menstrual Hygiene Day, the handle #nomorelimits will be highlighting these myths and misconceptions around menstruation, providing an open platform of engagement. Women will no longer be limited by untruths associated with menstruation, limited by stigma and abuse, nor will their access to the necessary sanitary products and facilities be limited. In South Africa, as with many other nations, many young women are currently very limited in that they do not have access to sanitary products because of a lack of funding. They are forced to use unsanitary items such as rags, newspapers or even leaves which can be detrimental to their . . .
The team from Subz Pants and Pads and Project Dignity celebrated Menstrual Hygiene Day by attending the Menstrual Health Symposium in Johannesburg. Project Dignity launched their #menstruationmatters campaign in support of this day. South Africans are encouraged to post their reasons why #menstruationmatters on the Subz downloadable boards, which can be shared across all online platforms using #menstruationmatters or #nomorelimits. Visit www.subzpads.co.za and www.projectdignity.org.za to find the printable boards or for more information on the campaign and activations. Alternatively, visit the Facebook page ‘Project Dignity’ or follow on the Twitter handle @dignityforwomen for updates. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
On Tuesday 15 May 2018, Fibroids Treatment clinic in partnership with The White Dress Project, a non-profit organisation that sets to raise awareness about Fibroids and urge women to seek help hosted an educational experience to drive awareness on the impact that fibroids has on millions of South African women. This flagship initiative which brought together experts and women in one room aimed to allow women to reclaim their voice in speaking about this prevalent condition. Studies show that in South Africa alone, 4 out of 10 women have fibroids. And 80% of women are at risk of developing fibroids from their reproductive age to the age of 50. Head of Fibroids Treatment Clinic, Dr Gary Sudwarts says; “ As a doctor treating women with fibroids, I realised that the biggest problem many of our woman face is not knowing that they have fibroids and they are certainly not aware of the treatment options available to them. They suffer in silence experiencing symptoms such as pelvic pain, constipation, frequent urinating, pain during intercourse, infertility and heavy bleeding.” White Dress Project was launched to support women living with Fibroids because women who have fibroids avoid wearing a white dress because of heavy menstrual bleeding. “ The White Dress Project is a tremendous opportunity to support women suffering from fibroids. They need to know that they have the right to be able to choose what to wear without fear of being embarrassed by a medical condition.” Dr Gary Suwarts says He continues to say “This event was a platform to encourages women to share their experiences, discuss treatment options and to know that they are not alone. Women can finally imagine a life without Fibroids, a life in which they are not constantly tired or have a big pelvic mass. Where they can have children and have the energy to care for their families.” The event was attended by some of Mzansi’s faves including, actress and model Jay Anstey, plus size model & . . .
Joshua Naicker (22 months old) from Midrand, Johannesburg, was born at only 33 weeks old with challenging circumstances. The circumference of his head measured 45 cm, a length greater than his body, due to tremendous fluid on his brain. Proud parents, Phillecia (29) and Bradley (36) were elated to welcome their first born into the world after 5 years of marriage and with uncomplicated family medical history, they could not have anticipated the difficult road ahead. Baby Joshua was diagnosed with congenital Hydrocephalus, more commonly known as “water on the brain”. This relentless and incurable disease currently affects 1 in every 500 babies globally. At only 10 days old Joshua had already undergone his first brain surgery and spent the first two months of his life in Neonatal ICU, where he received a number of plasma blood transfusions to compensate for hemorrhaging large amounts of blood. He has since been fitted with a shunt (a thin piece of plastic tubing with a catheter), which drains the fluid from his brain to his stomach As a result of this rare disease Joshua has developed a number of serious conditions namely Cerebral Palsy (Hemiplegia), severe Cortical Visual Impairment, Hip Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Chiari Malformation, Scoliosis, missing Septum Pellucid, global developmental delay and hypertonia. “He has had a total of 5 operations in his short existence, 3 of them being brain surgeries, uncountable hours of therapy and doctors appointments. His daily activities are so challenging and he cannot perform any tasks independently such as sitting, standing, crawling, playing, eating or drinking.” – says Bradley. Despite his challenging circumstances, Bradley is described as a bubbly child, who loves affection. “He has the most beautiful smile, a smile that can capture anyone's heart. He exudes love and happiness. He has the true heart of a warrior.” – says Phillecia “He has come such a long way and is getting very close to sitting and crawling . . .