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Activate Your Health Awareness

Shraddha Patnala

The Activate Lifestyle section, would like to take this year’s health column to the next level: making it relevant to those who want to see, or lead, a change outside of themselves; we asked ourselves about when did health begin to mean just fitness, exercise, and a change in diet? When did we begin glamorizing health instead of understanding what actually increases mortality rates in South Africa? How do we manage, and be accountable for our own health? And why does all this matter?

South Africa has always been a historic platform. Whether its politics, sports, or the rate at which our healthcare systems are battling the rising burden of diseases, our country has certainly progressed into a fairly stable transition zone for those who want to be a part of change. This pervasive need to change with the times doesn’t leave our university too far behind. As Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see.” and so at Rhodes University there are those who want to lead the change they want to see, especially on campus.

Our country faces one of the world’s most dangerous burdens of diseases, the twin forces: Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Communicable Diseases ones. The NCDs are all related to cardiovascular illnesses, also known as the Silent Killers that take effect over a long period of time, through the dietary and lifestyle choices we make. On the other hand, Communicable Diseases like HIV/AIDS and TB are often illnesses we do not have as much control over. There’s a struggle for the NCDs to gain recognition in South Africa especially since they contribute to 44% of the country’s mortality rate. HIV/AIDS and TB tend to have all the attention whilst more preventable diseases are grossly overlooked.

To combat this lack of awareness amongst the student and staff communities at the University, the Faculty of Pharmacy together with the Wellness Centre and Community Engagement Office and various other departments have joined forces to raise awareness and encourage campus support staff, and students, to be accountable for their own well-being. Prof Sunitha Srinivas from the Faculty of Pharmacy drives the multiple projects with the help of various administrative staff, student societies and the media to spread awareness and understanding of health promotion and diseases prevention. The projects also involve student contribution in the form of electives with topics ranging from maternal and child health to the psychology in health and well-being.

Disease prevention has now taken centre stage on this historic platform we call South Africa. Activate Lifestyle brings you closer to the research, stats, and ways to improve the community and one’s self through mindful living.


Read the upcoming article by one of Rhodes University’s Final Year Pharmacy students, Kayla Perumaul, where she explains how her elective project is redefining her health awareness: http://activateonline.co.za/wp-admin/post.php?post=16465&action=edit

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