SA’s superheroes need time out this Women’s Month, and every month: Women often try to be superheroes, pushing themselves to excel in the workplace while taking care of children and assuming the lion’s share of domestic responsibilities. There are, however, only so many hours in a day and the burden of stress that comes with routinely pushing the bounds of what is humanly possible can take a toll on one’s health. “It is common for women to pride themselves on ‘doing it all’, however popular culture sets this up as the standard, rather than an unrealistic goal. We try to keep all our balls in the air all of the time and, if that means we have to put in extra hours, we frequently disregard the possible negative consequences this could have on our bodies and just get on with it,” says Lizette Bester, Executive at employee risk management company Agility Corporate. “Given historical gender bias in the workplace and its legacy, many women feel additional pressure to prove that their work performance is at least equal to that of their male counterparts. Indeed, they often feel it is necessary to exceed expectations in order to break through the ‘glass ceiling’,” she adds. “On top of this, gender norming has also had the effect that women are often expected to also take on responsibility for caring for children and being homemakers. The role of ‘domestic goddess’ represents a significant labour burden, over and above their paid work, and this is often taken for granted because it is traditionally and culturally expected.” The most recent Time Use Survey, undertaken by Statistics South Africa, indicates that even in households employing a domestic worker, on average women spend over two hours per day on housework, almost double the time spent by their male counterparts. “In households without the benefit of an employed domestic worker, the study found that women were, on average, spending a staggering 199 minutes per day on housework often over and above . . .
The Institute for Food Nutrition and Wellbeing (IFNuW), at the University of Pretoria, has created a world-first solution to improve food security for the poorest communities in South Africa. The problem 54% of South Africans live below the poverty line, living on R779 or less a month many can barely afford enough maize to feed their family three meals a day. “A diet consisting largely of maize and bread cannot meet a person’s nutritional needs,” comment’s research lead, Professor Sheryl Hendriks. “Many communities turn to subsistence agriculture to bridge this nutritional gap, but in the marginal farming areas that make up large parts of rural South Africa, they struggle to grow enough food to meet their daily food requirements. “Malnutrition has a dramatic knock-on effect not only on individuals in terms of stunted growth, limited cognitive development and a compromised immune system. But it has an impact on our economy.” Discover more background behind the significance of the research on South Africans at www.researchmatters.up.ac.za. Over the past four years, researchers have been surveying what communities in four of South Africa’s poorest rural communities grow and eat. Digitally recorded, for immediate use by researchers, at each community, enumerators used tablets to record survey data on diet, health indicators and farming in the community. “We wanted a fuller picture of how communities feed themselves, and how reliant they are on rain?fed and irrigated agriculture to do this, their income and access to diverse food groups,” advises Prof. Hendriks. The solution IFNuW has digitally collected data relating to foods which are grown in the four sites that the research was conducted at and combined it with data from food composition tables to understand the nutritional value of different crops. From this insight, the team has developed recommendations for communities in specific regions on what to grow and how to grow food that addresses . . .
Soul City Institute, as it’s popularly known, made its name primarily as a social and behavioural change communications agency that housed a number of programmes under its banner - amongst them Soul Buddyz, Soul City, Kwanda and Phuza Wize – mainly around the areas of HIV and AIDS and its related drivers. In its new incarnation, the Soul City Institute will continue to address social issues, now through the lens of how they impact on young women and girls, who’ve been identified as a severely at-risk population group. The story of the South African woman certainly merits concern – as found by the HSRC, the 2015 unemployment rate estimate is 27.7%, compared to 24.4% in men. A worryingly high percentage of South African women have experienced some form of emotional, economic, physical or sexual violence in their lifetime (77% in Limpopo, 51% in Gauteng, 45% in the Western Cape), and 40% of female youth headed households don’t have anyone employed, compared to 19.7 in male youth headed households. “In many real respects, the issues that Soul City Institute has historically targeted have remained pressing – research conducted by the HSRC has found that in as much as new HIV incidences have declined between 2002 and 2012, it remains at worryingly high levels, especially amongst young women and in informal settlements. Of real concern, accurate knowledge about transmission and prevention of HIV is low.” Explains Ms Lebo Ramofoka, CEO of the Soul City Institute “That being said, we’re excited about the new direction the organization is embarking on, and remain committed to furthering the goals of social justice that this institute was founded to address.” It is against this background that the Soul City Institute is launching its new direction, which will find expression in a number of programmes focused on young women and girls. The first of these new programmes is Rise – which will manifests as a talk show, young women and girls club and popular club . . .
Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg Hosts First Annual Run For Hope Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg hosts its first annual Run For Hope, to benefit CHOC, Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa - Sunday, 11 September in Westcliff. Runners and walkers have options of a 5km or 7.5 km route. Adult's 5 km Run / Walk - R150 per person or Adult's 7.5 Run / Walk - R195 per person and includes a Run For Hope t-shirt and goodie bag. Pancake Breakfast - R55 per person (to be served after the race). You don't need to partake to get involved! Raise the most money for CHOC and win an unforgettable 4 nights stay for two at the 5-star Four Seasons Mauritius, Seychelles or Serengeti properties. Visit www.westcliffrunforhope.co.za for further information, booking and even donations! CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
After five years and a total of 500 wheelchairs donated, the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities (APD) and SPAR Eastern Cape continued their drive to assist those in need yesterday. The SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday campaign got under way at SUPERSPAR Gelvandale as APD began their ambitious objective of raising funds for 150 wheelchairs. "For most people mobility comes as naturally as breathing and you don't even give it a second thought," said SPAR EC sponsorship controller Roseann Shadrach. "Yet, for many of our citizens, the importance of having ‘wheels' is pivotal to their existence." She said SPAR EC and APD had worked with diligence and enthusiasm towards this goal in Nelson Mandela Bay over the past five years. After raising funds for a record total of 120 wheelchairs last year, APD executive director Brian Bezuidenhout said they were fully motivated to bump up the awareness campaign. The main theme of the initiative, he said, was to place able-bodied people in wheelchairs for four-hour stints to demonstrate in the most practical way possible the challenges faced by those with disabilities. "We will continue to keep the idea simple but effective," said Bezuidenhout. "So we thought what better way to raise awareness and funds and to turn the tables on traditional thinking by giving able-bodied people some insight and perspective into our everyday lives. "This way the leaders in the public and private sectors gain deeper insight into our obstacles and can provide opportunities at the same time." Sumaiyah Abrahams from Continental Tyres and Fatima Khan of the Mazars accounting firm soon discovered what Bezuidenhout meant. "I just completed the first task, reaching for a bottle of water," said Abrahams. "It was really hard because it was on the top shelf and you can't even reach the second shelf. "You don't realise how tough it is for the people in the wheelchairs to get around and do their daily tasks so I do . . .
Non-medical scheme plan provides a flexible savings solution: With South Africa’s household savings rate hovering around 1.1 percent, and average debt as a percentage of disposable income at 76.6 percent, most South Africans would find it difficult to make ends meet if confronted with unexpected healthcare expenses. According to Debbie Valentini, GM of Marketing, Communications and Rewards at Agility Channel, several factors, including the high cost of healthcare and the out-of-pocket expenses that medical scheme members experience, result in many people finding themselves unprepared when confronted with unexpected illness. “Many medical scheme members often find themselves out-of-pocket when it comes to their healthcare, whether it’s running out of savings in the middle of the year, having to cover a procedural co-payment or depleting benefits faster than was expected to name but a few examples. In addition, those who cannot afford medical scheme cover are looking to save for healthcare eventualities at a rate they can afford, and ensure their funds can only be accessed for healthcare purposes, thereby taking away the temptation to spend savings on other items by them or their families.” This is where making adequate provision for healthcare savings becomes key, says Valentini. “The availability of a meaningful medical savings facility that can absorb healthcare costs is becoming increasingly important for medical scheme and non-medical scheme members alike. ” “Our Zurreal Healthcard members, for example, are proving that they take the need for saving towards healthcare seriously. Our statistics show that during the past 12 months each Zurreal Healthcard member was able to maintain R2 346,55 of savings, on average for their healthcare expenses.” Valentini says that individuals and families alike are becoming ever more aware of the additional expenses associated with healthcare. “Health items like vitamins and supplements can quickly add up and if . . .
The warmth and hospitality of the region’s farming folk was clearly demonstrated at the annual Val Boeredag, recently hosted in Waterval. Resolution Health Medical Scheme (Resolution Health) was there to celebrate agriculture and the strong farming families who put food on the nation’s tables daily. “The Val Boeredag presented the ideal opportunity to ‘kuier’ with Mpumalanga farmers and get to know more about them and their health concerns,” says Principal Officer of Resolution Health, Mark Arnold. Resolution Health also used the day as a key opportunity to understand how conscientious the local community is about their health. It was interesting to note that in a poll taken on the day, two-thirds indicated they could not remember when last they had had their blood pressure checked. “There are a number of health conditions that can arise from high blood pressure, including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, eyesight problems and kidney damage. The concern is that if people in farming communities are not having basic health screening regularly, they may not be adequately looking after their health or be aware of preventable medical problems that they may be facing,” Arnold observes. The same poll also revealed that 63 per cent of respondents did not believe their employer provided suitable and sufficient healthcare benefits. “Making sure that your workers have adequate access to healthcare cover is one of the easiest ways to boosting productivity, reducing absenteeism rates and ensuring a healthier workforce in general. When considering that the South African economy loses approximately R55.2 billion to sick leave per year and R16 billion to ‘presenteeism’, the business case, and eventual impact on the farmer’s bottom line, becomes clear,” says Arnold. Presenteeism, or working while sick, reduces productivity and can further exacerbate illness. In addition, a sickly worker may transmit infection to his or her colleagues, further compounding the . . .
Episodes of occupational or work-related stress are a problem most people will encounter at some point in their professional lives. The effects of work stress, if it is not well managed, can spill over into one’s home life and have the potential to negatively affect our loved ones. “Stress is not always a bad thing, and a reasonable level of stress can actually be healthy as it keeps one stimulated. Highly stressful conditions sustained over a long period affect individuals differently, but are generally regarded as unhealthy,” says Dr Jacques Snyman, Director of Product Development at Agility Health. What is workplace stress? Common sources of work-related stress include difficulties keeping up with workload, conflict with colleagues, and strains in family life that impact on work performance, among others. Lower-income workers face significant stress from financial pressures, especially those who are the sole breadwinners for their families. “People tend to feel the effects of stress in the workplace more acutely if they feel that they have very little scope for making decisions relating to their work, or no room to advance their ideas about how their work processes could be made more efficient,” says Lizette Bester, Executive at Agility Corporate, an employee risk management company. High levels of stress are frequently associated with health conditions, such as high blood pressure, impaired immune system and insomnia, and may trigger certain psychological problems. The effects of stress can take their toll on anyone, but those with underlying health problems face even greater risk of incurring stress-related health problems. “Stress therefore presents a very real threat to individual health, as well as overall productivity, which has implications for employers’ bottom-lines and the country’s economy,” she adds. “Through education and healthy human resources practices, the workplace can be made into a less stressful experience. Introducing . . .
IUGA2016 is inviting women of all ages to attend their special Women’s Forum, which will be open to the public at no charge, on Monday, 1 August 2016. This will be an opportunity for women to interact with four top urogynaecological specialists and have your questions answered in the following topics: Does caesarean delivery protect your pelvic floor? Does vaginal birth cause sexual problems? Surgery for prolapse and urinary leakage; and Menopause and bladder function. Location: Cape Town International Convention Centre Registration starts at 05:30pm Welcome; 06:00pm Topic discussions: 06:05pm until 06:50pm Q & A: 07:05pm To RSVP please go to http://bit.ly/IUGAforum CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
By Martha Chauke Are you part of the growing sweater’s revolution in South Africa? If you don’t know what this means then you are not sweating nearly as much as everyone else these days. Have you noticed there are more South Africans jogging and running in the mornings and late afternoons everywhere you go? We currently have an increasing community of sweaters in every suburb simply because it’s cool to be fit and health conscious nowadays. It is trending to an extent that the life expectancy for both male and female South Africans is now 62 years of age, which is an increase of eight and half years since 2015. This is good news if you take into consideration the “fat problem” South Africans face. Did you know South African children are the third most obese youth in the world? While research shows that nearly two-thirds of our population is overweight. Surprisingly the gender’s responsible for these stats are women. 70% of women are overweight. Basically around 4 in every 10 women are classified as clinically obese in this country. Healthwise we are talking about women with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30. We can only celebrate the increasing number of sweaters we see on a daily basis taking their health a lot more serious. We also celebrate every South African with a fitness plan in place like a gym membership or simply being part of a running/walking club. There is also an increasing number of community based sport teams. It is no longer rare to find a group of women playing soccer or netball on a Saturday morning at local sports and recreational facilities. Furthermore, a number of the youth population consider fun runs and/or walks as trendy social events. We lead sedentary lifestyles filled with stress, lack of sleep and bad nutrition. Thanks to this we are faced with alarming obesity stats. Let’s take a typical work day for example, everyone is travelling to and from work daily and spend close to four hours sitting. From this commuters . . .