The Rhodes University Pharmacy Students Association (RUPSA), in conjunction with the Pharmacy Faculty, the Rhodes Library and the Wellness Centre, have launched a health initiative called MyHealth.
MyHealth is a free campaign aimed at educating Rhodes support staff about the prevention and treatment of diseases such as TB, hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis.
“They’re a group of people within Rhodes that are kind of forgotten about,” said RUPSA treasurer Shannon Adie. “Everyone focuses on the students and the lecturers but the support staff is what runs Rhodes basically.”
The MyHealth volunteers will gather outside the Rhodes library every Tuesday at 12:15 to speak to support staff members about various health issues. This week’s focus was Tuberculosis, as Tuesday the 24th of March is World TB day. Every two weeks a different issue will be chosen according to the health calendar.
The official launch was held last week at the GLT, and according to Adie, the turnout was impressive. She noted that one of the problems they encountered was a language barrier. They have since recruited isiXhosa-speaking volunteers to translate. “They really, really appreciate it because if they don’t go to the SAN or the clinic they don’t have any information on health care, so it’s just a free opportunity for them to learn more,” she said.
Volunteers will speak to support staff about relevant points such as screening, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as educating them on ways to prevent contraction of certain diseases. Further information is provided by pamphlets, which are printed in isiXhosa. “It is useful because we learn a lot; we learn different medications and how to prevent it,” said Rhodes support staff member Ndileka Ncala, who works at Hobson House.
Ncala and her colleague Rosemary Kolioti say that they will definitely spread the word about the initiative. “We will recommend it to others at home, in our location,” she said.
RUPSA president Suven Govender, stressed the importance of supporting the support-staff. “The basis of this project was, why not help those who help us,” he said.