Tongaat Hulett partnership ensures well-being of communities

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Tongaat Hulett partnership ensures well-being of communities

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Phoenix Durban

Community members gathered in their numbers at the Gingindlovu Sports ground where critical information on healthy living was shared.

As the country’s holidaymakers geared up for their share of surf and sun this festive season, agri-processing company, Tongaat Hulett raised awareness about important health issues affecting rural communities.
The initiative took place in commemoration of World Aids Day and was a partnership with Catherine Booth Hospital in Gingindlovu, northern KwaZulu-Natal, and other key stakeholders.
An increasing number of HIV infections in the Gingindlovu community among the 16 to 49 age group necessitated a HIV/Aids awareness day.
Community members gathered in their numbers at the Gingindlovu Sports ground where critical information on healthy living was shared.
While many rural communities in South Africa still have limited access to healthcare facilities, it is important that there is greater understanding about the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses and medical conditions.
Among the free services made available to the community at the health indaba were HIV testing, medical male circumcision, screening tests for diabetes – recently found to be the second leading cause of death in the country – hypertension and cervical cancer.
“It was important for us to kickstart the campaign at this time of year when schools have closed and people are on holiday which automatically increased our target audience,” said Siphokazi Jackson, Catherine Booth Hospital’s H.A.S.T (HIV and AIDS/ STI/ TB) operational manager.

Jackson added, “We stand in solidarity with people who are HIV-positive. There is a high number of child-headed households and orphans in our community and it is important for us to do all that we can to increase awareness about the virus.”
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To encourage responsible behaviour, condoms and other preventative methods of contraception were distributed.
“We are grateful to Tongaat Hulett and all other stakeholders who came together to ensure the day was a resounding success. We will continue to prioritise the health of people in our community,” said Tholakele Vezi, Catherine Booth Hospital’s CEO.
Muzi Ninela, Tongaat Hulett Matikulu Mill General Manager, delivered an address which resonated with community members.
“People can live a happy and healthy life, irrespective of their HIV status. We need to dispel all the myths there are about the virus. Diabetes is also a silent killer and we all need to have regular screenings,” he said.
Nkonzo Mhlongo, Tongaat Hulett Socio-Economic Development Manager, said, “As a business that works in various communities, we will continuously ensure that people take their health seriously. This essentially means having regular check-ups done and promoting medical male circumcision. We remain dedicated to creating positive change in the communities where we operate in.”

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