A few decisions can save lives and reduce the workload on healthcare workers, says KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane

  • Sit down, take stock of your life, make some changes this December;
  • Spare a thought for our healthcare workers and avoid unnecessary injury or death;
  • Don't drink and drive - use a designated driver or e-hailing service;
  • Use family planning methods and prevent unwanted babies with names like Velaphi, "December" and "Putha Liyenzeka"
  • en have an equal role to play in family planning

27 November 2022

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane says the road to safe December holidays should start now - with a mindset shift - before the beginning of the so-called "silly season."

The MEC is pleading with residents and visitors to have a rethink about potentially fatal conduct such as drinking and driving and having unprotected sex, all in the name of "festive season fun."

Speaking on the KZN Department of Health's weekly multimedia programme KZN Health Chat at Estcourt Hospital on Friday, MEC Simelane said: "We are saying people need to sit down, think about themselves, and see what aspects of their lives they need to bring under control.

"We're pleading with the public... let us have fun responsibly. Let's have fun in a guarded way. Let's not go overboard. Let's not abuse alcohol. Those who drink must do so within a limit; and those who don't drink, now is not the time to start."

MEC Simelane says drinking and driving should be a "No-No!" for everyone and, in order to stay alive, revelers attending year-end parties or enjoying themselves at trendy restaurants, should consider using a designated driver system, or e-hailing transport services.

"To those who drink, you can have a designated driver - the person who won't be drinking on the night. To those who go partying together, do not allow a drunk person to drive you back home, because this is your life, and you will die.

"Let us protect ourselves, and behave responsibly, because when you drive while under the influence of alcohol, there's a very high possibility that you might harm not only yourself, but us who donít drink... who are not in the car with you, and were not drinking with you. So, your actions might end up affecting many families.

"When such incidents happen, it affects us severely as the Department of Health, because we end up with full beds and a heavier workload on our healthcare professionals, just because someone decided to drink and get on the road."

The MEC also called on the public to seek alternative dispute resolution methods rather than resorting to confrontations, acts of road rage and fights, as these could easily turn deadly.

"Let's not fight and harm each other because then people start dying, and many of them end up in our casualty wards with stabbings and gunshot wounds. All of that is usually as a result of drinking overboard, so we are pleading with fellow compatriots not to do that. Let's have fun within limitations, so that we're all still around to usher in the new year."

MEC Simelane also appealed to the public to be mindful of the consequences of unprotected sex, which could give rise to unplanned and unwanted pregnancy; sexually-transmitted infections (including HIV and syphilis).

She says reckless sexually behaviour could give rise to babies with names like "Velaphi!: (Where did he come from!); "December"; and Phutha Liyenzeka (A Mistake Happens).

"As a Department, we now offer both male and female condoms, free of charge. Each and every individual has the responsibility to protect themselves, because our labour wards tend to be busiest during September, which means the babies were conceived in December. We shouldn't have a situation where people fall pregnant 'by mistake' and have children with those kind of names just because we got carried away during December.

"Men and boys have an equal responsibility to avoid impregnating their partners, because the excuse that you 'got carried away by fun' just because it's December, won't cut it.

"If you're planning to have a child, then well and good. That means you're an organised person. But let's not have babies we haven't planned for.

"To young people, if you've managed to abstain from sex, keep it that way. Continue taking charge of your life, because, really, there's no need to rush. The right time will come.

"To those who've started, please protect yourselves. You still have your whole long life ahead of you, and you need to make the most of it."

Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

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This page last edited on 28 November, 2022

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