SourceSouth African Government (Pretoria)

The Gauteng Department of Health is calling on pregnant mothers and their partners to make use of clinics to learn more about pregnancy and prevention of sexually transmitted illnesses.

This comes as the department is embarking on a week long campaign which commenced yesterday to educate communities about the dangers of unplanned pregnancies and the risks of being infected with sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDS as part of pregnancy and STI awareness week.

Health promoters will be visiting high schools across the province to address various topics linked to teenage pregnancy. This drive aims to empower learners with information on reproductive health so that they can make wiser choices now and in the future.

Commenting on the matter, Gauteng MEC for Health Hope Papo urged young men and women to know their reproductive health rights and responsibilities.

"Contraceptive services are freely available in all public health institutions. Young men and women are encouraged to practice the ABC strategy which is: Abstain, Be Faithfull and Condomise in order to avoid unplanned pregnancies and infections. The aim for all young men and women should be to delay engaging in sexual activities until they are old enough to take full responsibility for their actions"

The department has seen a remarkable increase in the number of pregnant mothers who visit clinics for antenatal care before the 20 weeks gestation. More than 40% pregnant women attended antenatal classes allowing health professionals to identify pregnancy related complications at an early stage of the pregnancy and to ensure that they give birth to healthy babies. This is an improvement from the 34.6% who attended antenatal care in the last financial year.

In the last financial year, 203 865 babies were born in health facilities across the province.

The department is currently conducting a campaign at Vaal University of Technology which will focus on reproductive health for men and women, contraceptives, Cancer and condom demonstration.

Male Medical Circumcision will also be conducted on site at the University Clinic. Medical Male Circumcision has proven to offer up to 60% protection from HIV. New evidence also shows that circumcision has a significant impact on curbing the rate of new infections.

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