The University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) faculty of Community and Health Sciences (CHS) will be using their 67 Minutes on Mandela Day to drive a health and wellness campaign in Fisantekraal, a small community 30km outside of Cape Town.

Mandela Day is an annual internationally recognised day that falls on 18th July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, to commemorate the life and achievements of South Africa’s first democratically elected president. On Mandela Day, people are encouraged to volunteer or do community service for 67 minutes – the number of years he fought for social justice.

“The state of public health in South Africa appears to be in a state of paralysis. Since the Life Esidimeni tragedy, scandal upon scandal has come to light which has negatively impacted our frail public health system. The access to affordable and quality healthcare in remote areas in South Africa remains a big challenge, a challenge which is worsened by an extensive variety of diseases that our country battles with on a regular basis, including TB, HIV/AIDS, chronic and lifestyle diseases,” said Dean: Community & Health Sciences at UWC, Prof Anthea Rhoda.

“In the spirit of Madiba and his vision to spread social justice and freedom for all, this is our chance to become part of a continuous global movement for good. Let us all emulate the servant leader we loved by becoming servant leaders ourselves – Madiba change-makers. By becoming someone who makes every day a Mandela Day by taking action against poverty, we can show others that actions speak louder than words,” continued Prof Rhoda.

Between 9:00 and 12:00 on 18th July a variety of activities will take place at the Fisantekraal Multi-Purpose Community Centre. The UWC School of Nursing will conduct health screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol, etc. and a dietetics and nutrition team will provide BMI classifications and assist patients with putting together healthy eating plans.

Representatives from the Department of Social Work within CHS will also be there to offer services related to social work and interaction, with a special focus on motivating the youth in the community.

The Western Cape Department of Health will also send a mobile clinic to provide, among other health services, HIV testing, diabetic foot screening, TB symptom screening and mobilisation and bookings for male medical circumcision. There will also be an oral health outreach services, based on the availability of the oral health bus.

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