Rotary to provide free healthcare in April

Rotary improves health and wellness
Free healthcare in April

South Africans received free access to health screenings, counselling services, and measles inoculations and polio screening during the Rotary Family Health Days (RFHD), launched on 2 April 2014 at the LoveLife Centre, KwaNobhule, Uitenhage, Eastern Cape.

The RFHD initiative aims to increase access to family health care services and ran over a three day period from 2 to 4 April 2014 at 145 sites across the country. RFHD also provided families with HIV/Aids testing and counselling, Tuberculosis (TB), diabetes, hypertension screening and other Non-Communicable Diseases services.

The initiative has enabled access to more than 65 000 people in South Africa since its inception in 2013.

At the launch event, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi joined by RFHD partners including Rotarians For Family Health & Aids Prevention, Inc. (RFHA), The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, SABC, Caxton and PEPFAR partners, the Centres for Disease Control and USAID, to promote family health care and create awareness around the importance of health screening.

 “As part of the Department of Health’s mission to improve the health status of South African citizens through the prevention of illnesses and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, we are proud to be a part of this initiative. We aim to consistently improve the healthcare delivery systems in this country and we feel that RFHD is the perfect vehicle to assist us in this effort,” explained Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

Speaking about the 225 Rotary Clubs and their representatives at the launch, Marion Bunch, CEO of RFHA, said “This is a great example of how people and organisations from different sectors of the community can come together to make a difference in the health of South Africans. The 4 000 Rotarians in South Africa mobilise the communities into action, and they select, build and volunteer at all the sites during the three day campaign.” 

The RFHD initiative is a unique collaboration between government, the private sector and civil society to facilitate healthier and happier families. The RFHA, acting as civil society, facilitates the partnerships and co-ordinate the program rollout.  Coca-Cola was the primary sponsoring partner and provided RFHA with mobilization and media support. 

Commenting on the private sector’s role in the partnership, Therese Gearhart, President of The Coca-Cola Company Southern Africa Business Unit and Board Member of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation said, "We believe in strong partnerships across civil society, government and business. This particular partnership makes sense to us and enables us to work towards achieving a common vision of a South Africa that has healthy and thriving communities. The Rotary Family Health Days initiative further compliments our partnership with Africare on the PEPFAR funded Injongo Yethu project in the Eastern Cape that works with the provincial government to provide continued HIV care, treatment and support services."

Because of the success of Rotary Family Health Days over the past three years in multiple African nations, Rotary International has produced a documentary of the programme which was flighted by the SABC and its affiliates across the African continent during March 2014. Rotary International also broadcasted the documentary to all its Rotary districts in over 200 countries worldwide.
This pan-African health campaign will be rolled out in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa during the month of April 2014, with the aim of providing free healthcare to over 350 000 citizens across the continent. 

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