Rotary Family Health Days bring Free Health Services to Communities

Johannesburg, 22 April 2013– Civil society, big business and the South African Government are teaming up next month from 9 – 11 May 2013 to promote family health and create awareness around polio, HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Non-Communicable Diseases.

Rotarians For Family Health & Aids Prevention, Inc. (RFHA), Rotary’s mobilising and implementing partner in the area of disease prevention, including HIV/AIDS, has received an unprecedented commitment from the Department of Health (DoH), corporate giant Coca-Cola South Africa and SABC -national broadcaster - to support the implementation of the Rotary Family Health Days (RFHDs) programme across the country.  RFHDs are a comprehensive, holistic offering of free healthcare for parents, children, grandparents, friends and all family members in over 160 sites across the country.  Approximately 4,000 Rotarians from 225 Rotary Clubs will be managing and working the sites to assist the medical staff and deliver the services to South Africans.

“The RFHD program is about Rotarians taking the lead in a massive health campaign and living their motto of service above self,” says Marion Bunch, CEO of RFHA.   “With an estimated 5.6 million people living with HIV/ AIDS in South Africa in 2011, it is critically important to garner as much support as possible from not only the SA Government, but corporate partners and the media as well to address the problem and implement our prevention and control programmes.”

The Rotary Family Health Days programme was initially developed to address the critically important issue of HIV/AIDS, but has always included other wrap around health care services. This is the first year that Rotary Family Health Days has been offered in South Africa.  

Over the three days, testing and counselling of over 50,000 people for HIV/ AIDS will take place, simultaneously, in all nine South African provinces. Other services will include TB symptomatic screening, diabetes and blood pressure screening, polio and measles vaccination, deworming and the dispensing of Vitamin A tablets “As part of the DoH’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” says Health Minister, Dr Aaron Mosoaledi. “We are using this opportunity to continue the implementation of our polio and measles campaign roll-out. We aim to consistently improve the healthcare delivery systems in this country and we feel that the RFHD’s are the perfect vehicle to assist us in this.”

The DoH will provide free medical services and bring their existing Health Counselling and Testing (HCT), and Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) and prevention of Non- Communicable disease campaigns to each site over the three days. The DoH’s monitoring and evaluation template, which will eventually be shared with the other countries involved in the Rotary Family Health Days, will also be utilised.

Not only is the South Africa Government committed to improving the lives of its citizens through this partnership, but The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) has also seen the RFHD as a fit for their enduring dedication to building sustainable communities through promoting wellness and prevention and management of HIV/Aids and other Non-Communicable Diseases such as Diabetes. TCCC has been RFHA’s primary strategic partner   in the RFHDs programme since 2011, through its Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF).

“We are proud to have partnered with RFHA and the Department of Health in promoting access to health screening services at over 160 sites across the country. At Coca- Cola, we invest in these initiatives because together with our partners we have a common vision of a South Africa that comprises healthy, strong and thriving communities,” says Therese Gearhart, President of Coca-Cola South Africa.

Additionally the company continues to be involved in other HIV/AIDS care and management programmes through other partnerships and works with local health authorities and a variety of experts to reach the affected communities.

In addition to the DoH and Coca-Cola South Africa, national broadcaster the SABC has also pledged support for the programme. Information about the RFHDs throughout the country will be broadcast across all SABC television channels and radio stations in all eleven languages.

“As the national broadcaster of South Africa, we have a responsibility to the citizens of this country to bring them news and current events that directly affect them. The Rotary Family health days will play an important role in delivering free and quality healthcare to thousands of people across the country” says Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Acting Chief Operations Officer SABC, “To get the message across effectively, we have pledged to share information about these three days with all our listeners and viewers”.

Other partners to the Rotary Family Health Days include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID (agencies of the U.S. Government who fund HIV/AIDS programs) as well as Nampak will be supporting the work at all the sites.

Rotary members will offer this event for the third year at 120 sites in Uganda, and at 100 sites in Lagos, Nigeria.  A Rotary global grant in the amount of US$113,454 is going toward supporting events in both countries.  It is the vision of RFHA, Rotary leaders and other partners to expand the health event each year to other African countries.

To find out more about the RFHDs and the sites in your area visit:  www.rfha.orgor dial *120*7343#

ENDS

About Rotary

Rotaryis a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service.  Rotary’s top priority is the global eradication of polio. Building on its successful collaborations for polio eradication, Rotary is forging partnerships with other established organizations to achieve common humanitarian goals in the following six areas:peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development. The grants support major international projects with sustainable, high impact outcomes. South Africa has 225 Rotary clubs with a total of 5 000 Rotary members To access broadcast quality video footage and still photos go to: Media Center.

About RFHA

Rotarians For Family Health & Aids Prevention, Inc. (RFHA) was formed in 2004 for the specific purpose of mobilizing Rotarian volunteers, resources and partners in support of the vulnerable children and families affected by HIV/AIDS and other diseases in the developing world.    RFHA was recognized by Rotary International as a Rotarian Action Group in 2004, and is designated a primary global resource for Rotarians focusing on Disease Prevention, including HIV/AIDS.   Rotary Clubs and Districts throughout the world look to RFHA for guidance and possible support for their particular project plans on disease prevention and HIV/AIDS.  

RFHA’s role in the RFHD programme is to initiate the programme, obtain the partner organisations and funding sources, and to coordinate the work with all implementing partners over the three days.  The Rotary Clubs are responsible for selecting, building, managing and volunteering at each of the sites. 

 

Miringu Kiarie