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Women’s Month shines spotlight on reproductive health rights

SABC News Dr Zweli Mkhize - Women’s Month shines spotlight on reproductive health rights

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize says as South Africa marks Women’s Month, it is important to promote the rights of women to equality.

Mkhize says his department is working to promote the rights of women to reproductive health.

“Their right to control what happens to their bodies; their rights to control whether they have a pregnancy; whether they keep the pregnancy; how they raise their children … it remains their right and that must be supported by all. “

The Minister was speaking at a briefing on Reproductive Justice in Rosebank, Johannesburg,  hosted by the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism and Global Health Strategies.

Mkhize says women’s rights start with the right to life and control of their bodies.

Click below to listen to Minister Zweli Mkhize: 

Diseases   

The Department of Health is continuing with its programme to vaccinate women for cervical cancer. It also promises to strengthen programmes that deal with breast cancer.

One in 27 women in South Africa will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime while one in 42 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in her lifetime.

The minister has also touched on issues affecting the youth, saying the Department is working together with Non-Profit Organisation Love Life to address issues affecting young people.

“We have established youth zones in more than 300 clinics. So far, clinics set aside 2-4 pm daily, during which they prioritise youth health. We are also working with Love Life to train health workers to be sensitive to the needs of the youth.”

He has called on health officials to treat the youth fairly in health facilities.

“We also acknowledge that young people do not find health facilities friendly. There are reports that when a young person goes to clinics for contraception they are asked to bring their parents! This is unacceptable and we will work with health workers and the organisations that represent them to ensure that young people are not unfairly treated.”

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