"Do not take a holiday from your chronic medication", urges KZN Health MEC

"Also, don't over-eat;"

"Don't get carried away and spend money you don't have;" and

"There's still school uniforms and fees to worry about"

23 December 2022

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane has urged those who are on chronic medication to take their medication as prescribed, adding that the "festive mood" should not result in people "taking a holiday: from their medication.

Speaking at a special community outreach programme at KwaMashu township's F section yesterday, MEC Simelane said the Department was concerned that the number of people who default from taking their chronic medication as prescribed tends to increase during and after the festive season.

No fewer than 350 elderly people were examined by healthcare professionals for various ailments on the day.

MEC Simelane, who was accompanied by MP Ms Fikile Masiko and KZN MPL Ms Zinhle Cele, advised the elderly to get screened for deadly but treatable diseases such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer.

She also appealed to them not to shy away from exercising; to follow a healthier diet; and avoid food with too much sugar, oil or salt.

While decrying the abuse of elderly people, she urged them to avoid loan sharks, and to alert law enforcement authorities about any form of mistreatment or human rights violations.

There was jubilation as some of the elderly walked away with grocery hampers and assistive devices, including spectacles and walking sticks.

The MEC warned the public that not taking medication for chronic ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, heart disease and others could lead to poor health outcomes, medical complications, or even death.

"During the festive season, we tend to see a lot of defaulting, especially by people on chronic medication, which can be dangerous. We therefore wish to take this opportunity to encourage people, especially those who are going back home for the holidays, to make certain that they have enough medical supplies. This will ensure that they don't run out of medication far from the healthcare facilities that they collect their medication from.

"The fact that we are in the holiday season should not mean we should take a holiday from taking our medication as prescribed. It's important that we guard against that so that the medication will work properly," she said.

She urged the people of KwaZulu-Natal not to get carried away and make poor choices - including having unprotected sex - in the name of the festive season, because such "fun" may be short-lived.

"Let's continue eating healthily. Also, let's not take drugs or abuse alcohol, because that prevents a lot of people from seeing the new year.

"We are also urging young people to either abstain from sex, or use protection. There are male and female condoms available free of charge. So, we're saying, it's good to have fun, but it's important to do so in a guarded manner.

"Let's remember that the New Year is just around the corner. Let's not behave recklessly, and spend money irresponsibly. Let's not use money that we don't have, but rather get in the habit of saving money. Let's also not get carried away and over-eat and behave as if it's end of the world because the festive season is actually a short period of time that passes by very quickly."

She also urged young people not to capitulate to peer pressure.

"Each and every person has their own future, so, look after yourself. Be in charge of your life, so that you don't find yourself infected with a disease like HIV in a manner that you don't understand."

Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

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