Men’s month to highlight good health

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Head of the Urology Department at the Dr George Makhari academic hospital and Dr Sefako Makgato Health Science University, Professor Shingai Mutambirwa says men’s month should be used to create awareness on the importance of good health.

Health problems that affect men include prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, diabetes and heart disease.

In a bid to encourage men to be responsible for their own health Kgosi Moefi Mabalane of the Baphiring tribe near Swartruggens in the North West convened a men’s dialogue.

According to the findings of the board of healthcare funders of Southern Africa, 55% of the deaths in the country in 2015 were due to non-communicable diseases that are related to lifestyle.

These diseases are associated with poor diet, a lack of exercise and other unhealthy choices.

South African men are among the statistics that do not go for regular medical check-up or screenings like women do.

Mabalane of the Baphiring tribe has advised men in his community to talk about their health.

“We are about 30 to 40 kilometres away from medical hospitals, so it becomes convenient for them when you gather all these medical professionals and they are able to diagnose all these medical challenges that may arise. We will also look at challenges of prostate cancer which is quite rife in the male society especially after 35 years.”

Prof Mutambirwa says men’s month should be used to bring men closer to health facilities. He’s conceded that men in rural settings are more vulnerable to lifestyle diseases.

“It’s just a matter of education. I think the situation for men in urban area are more likely to get the internet; they are more likely to get the television or radio that can actually tell them that they’ve got specific problems. If you look at prostate cancer for example, information at the rural areas is a little less even though the government is trying to extend that information. And on top of that in urban areas the private system which has about 80 per cent of the doctors in general is concentrated in urban areas.”

Dr Ndiviwe Mphothulo from Rural Health Doctors Association of Southern Africa says, health care challenges in rural areas are compounded by a lack of resources and shortage of health care professionals.

“In Rural areas there is an added problem of things like shortages of health personnel, access to health care services, and some shortages of other resources. So the rural patient found his or herself in a more compromising position than a patient in an urban area.”

Most men have confirmed that they are only concerned about their HIV status, as it is the only disease that government has been preaching about.

A male resident says, “It was around March when I went for a check-up with my wife. but we only checked high blood pressure . With these other illnesses, we never check them.”

“No, I only check HIV, but other diseases I never bother,” says another male resident.

Another resident adds, “I do go for check-ups, but only HIV and diabetes.”

Chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis are among the most common, and yet preventable of all health problems.