The Rhodes Health Care Centre held a Sexual Health Open Day today for anyone on campus who wanted to come and learn more about various aspects of sexual health. While not well attended by students, a significant portion for the Rhodes support staff, mainly from the Grounds and Gardens, were in attendance.
“Sexual Health is for everyone,” began Sister Heather Ferreira, Head Nurse at the Health Care Centre. “We are seeing the numbers in TOP [Termination of Pregnancy] rising and the number of those coming for family planning falling.”
Following this introductory speech, most of the Open day was chaired by Songezo Conjwa, the Key Accounts Manager in Public Health at Aspen Pharmacare. Aspen is a group which dispenses generic pharmaceuticals in South Africa and overseas.
Conjwa spoke specifically about contraception, focusing on the combination pills, emergency pills and how to deal with breakthrough bleeds.
“It is important that women use the right methods,” he explained, “it often occurs where a woman speaks to her friend before someone at the clinic and so takes advice from the friend’s experience.”
He explained how each brand of pill, with reference to those supplied by Aspen being Triphasil, Nordette, Ovral and Microval, has different amounts of the two key hormones Progesterone and Oestrogen and so are suited for different people.
An interesting fact brought up that was little known by those in the room, was that it is possible to take the Emergency Pill (Morning After Pill) up to 120 hours after sex. In addition, repeated use of emergency contraception lowers it effects and can ultimately result in it failing to work.
Although most of the concerns he touched on related to the women in the room, he implored the men who were fathers to take an interest in their daughter’s sexual health by being open and having discussions with their children.
Following Conjwa, Rhodes HIV/AIDs Advocacy Officer Thandi Mzizi, took over the discussion and focused in on HIV/AIDS prevention. He centred the discussion around the Zazi (Know your strength) campaign for women and girls.
He explained how knowing your strength as a woman can empower you to make good choices for your future. He then went on to ask questions relating to safe sex practices with correct answers from the audience receiving prizes such as pens, USB’s, bracelets and condoms.
The audience were eager to participate and the discussion was largely with men and women offering up answers and coming up to demonstrate the correct method of putting on a condom (with the assistance of a wooden dildo).
Overall, those in attendance left with significantly clearer knowledge on the sexual health issues most prominent in our country.