Focusing on the importance of health, Deputy Minister for Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, kicked off the PinkDrive NPC campaign in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, September 14, doing so in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Founded in 2009 by Noelene Kotschan, the PinkDrive campaign is an initiative run by PinkDrive NPC, a health sector NGO.
PinkDrive’s cardinal purpose is to contribute meaningfully towards preventing as many people as it can, from succumbing to breast, cervical, prostate and testicular cancer. Its primary focus is on citizens without access to reasonable care for these conditions, and who reside in areas where health services do not reach.
The first leg of the PinkDrive campaign officially began in Madadeni, Newcastle, before continuing at the Dannhauser Community Centre on Tuesday, September 15. The campaign will now continue at Oliviershoek Clinic in Bergville and St Chads Community Health Centre at uThukela, before finishing up at Greys Hospital.
But what exactly is the campaign all about? What makes it so special?
Seeking to create awareness around various elements, the campaign provides education and health-related services to community members. Furthermore, the PinkDrive is a significant player in the gender-related cancer sector and will be to bringing critical screening to KwaZulu-Natal for health care facilities which are struggling to accommodate these additional screening services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The basket of services to be rendered during the campaign includes free education on women’s health, free pap smears for cervical cancer and free clinical self-breast examinations, mammogram and PSA screening for men over the age of 40 years. Community members will also have an opportunity to be tested for Covid-19.
Striving to promote the importance of health, reaching out to South Africans, this is no new initiative which is being driven by Bogopane-Zulu.
The Deputy Minister’s 10-year-long partnership with the PinkDrive has reached over and impressive 10 000 people in rural communities around South Africa.
With a number of governmental departments, such as the Department of Social Development, joining the campaign, Bogopane-Zulu explains, “We are trying to give people a picture of how integrated services can positively impact South Africans.”
Furthermore, she adds that as PinkDrive is an NPO, it is important for the government to become involved to assist people. Especially when looking at health-related issues such as cancer. “The early detection of cancer can save lives,” she emphasises.
Bogopane-Zulu adds that with the initiative focusing on key aspects of health, from focusing on cancer to counselling, it is a drive which she fully supports.
Going on to say, “Health plays an important role in the environment in which we live.” This she says can be seen by medical practitioners doing the relevant testing, determining if people have comorbidities and help protect them from other health risks such as COVID-19.
Additionally, this outreach is in line with President Ramaphosa’s call for a new district-based coordination model, which is about addressing service delivery and economic development challenges through the synchronised planning across all spheres of Government.
In terms of the new district-based coordination model, Government is expected to work together with social partners such as the business sector, civil society organisations and communities to enhance service delivery.
To this effect, the President appointed District Model Champions in various districts of the country and Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu has been deployed as District Champion in Majuba under the District Development Model. The Deputy Minister will now use the visit to engage local communities on service delivery related matters.
The Department of Social Development is committed to strengthening families while empowering women. The Department is also adamant about educating both men and women on breast cancer, as well as male-related cancer.
Noelene Kotschan, the CEO of PinkDrive, explains that men make up 1% of all breast cancer cases. An issue which she believes men need to be educated on. Furthermore, she states, initiatives such as the current campaign, ensure that myths around cancer are broken.
“I am grateful for this opportunity and it would not have happened if not for Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu.” She concludes.
Through the Department of Social Development promoting the campaign, PinkDrive can ensure it takes health care to the communities and people do not have to search for health care.
Well done to all those involved in the campaign, ensuring South Africans can take the first step in leading healthy lifestyles.
Author: Quinton Boucher
Edited: Calvin Swemmer