Anti-Pregnancy Awareness Campaign
UKZN’s Reproductive Health Education and Advocacy Programme (RHEAP) launched an Anti-Pregnancy Campaign on the Medical School campus.
Attended by peer-counsellors from all five campuses, the campaign aims to educate students about family planning and the challenges associated with falling pregnant while at university.
‘We need to raise awareness of the free services at the campus health clinics,’ said Manager of Sports and Health, Mr Mark Bashe. ‘The clinics are there to ensure that you get the support you need.’
Bashe assured students the University looked to ‘build on a culture of being responsible citizens’, and encouraged students to ‘study, work, become independent and then have a family and babies’.
Head of the HIV/AIDS Centre, Ms Nomonde Magantolo, said the campaign was launched to address the rate of pregnancy and the use of the morning-after-pill at the University.
Magantolo said falling pregnant needed to be an informed decision. ‘A child needs love and finances - as a student, what are you going to offer that child? Clinics are there free of charge - there is no need to fall pregnant. We are not here to judge you, but to let you know that there are structures to support you.’
She reminded students that it was not the responsibility of parents to raise their children’s progeny.
Ms Phumelele Dlamini, a nurse at Marie-Stopes, outlined the services available at Marie Stopes clinics, ranging from family planning (including termination of pregnancy) to pap smears, HIV-testing and counselling, circumcision for men, and STI-treatment and counselling.
Dlamini emphasised the importance of making informed decisions and asked students to consider their mothers who often bore the responsibility of raising grandchildren.
Miss Wendy Mkhize, a Research Assistant at UKZN’s Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), and Sister Bernadette Madlala, outlined a study underway at CAPRISA which hopes to find a way to prevent the transmission of HIV by using a “ring”. This method will allow women to protect themselves and their partners.
Sister Hlengiwe Mhlongo from the Campus Health Clinic outlined the services available at campus health clinics ranging from caring for minor injuries such as cuts and bruises to the treatment of STIs.
MSRC President, Mr Nsizwa Mkhwanazi, acknowledged that while he was "preaching to the converted", he encouraged the peer-educators to relay the message that ‘preventing irresponsible pregnancy can prevent lots of problems’.
Citing Franz Fanon - a philosopher, revolutionary, and writer - who famously said: ‘Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it’, Mkhwanazi encouraged young people to make this their “generational mission”.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Mrs Eleanor Langley, the Health Promoter on the Westville campus, thanked everyone who contributed to the successful launch of the campaign. She left the audience with these words: ‘Pregnancy is the evidence of unprotected sex.’
Entertainment was provided by students and included musical items by Sphesihle, “G”, Sanele and Aphiwe.
- Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer