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  • Writer's picturemommyincapetown

Women’s Health: Taboo and silence is killing us

The topic of Women’s Health Care and reproductive rights is a topic that is close to my heart. If the talk of periods and menstrual cycles, makes you uncomfortable – this is not the article for you or maybe you really need to read this post.

Marie Stopes and the #blueribbon campaign are putting all their resources behind giving all Women in South Africa access to much-needed health care that is affordable. Marie Stopes offers many health care services, they are not just an abortion clinic. This seems to be the biggest misconception about Marie Stopes.

Women’s Health, reproductive rights and pink tax are real concerns. Often these topics are taboo, swept under the rug, ignored, given “cutsie” names or treated with embarrassment.

High Price of Preventative Screening.

Recently I was incredibly shocked at the high cost of a female important preventative health test.

(I’m one of the lucky few South Africans who can afford Medical Aid and Private Health Care.)

I was getting quotes from various Gynaecologists for Pap Smears and mammograms. I’m in my mid 30’s and it’s important for me to start getting these tests done. As a firm believer in the saying “prevention is better than cure”, I was absolutely floored by the quotes I was receiving of over R2000.00! I could get the pap smear done but would have to pay cash and claim back from Medical Aid.

Now I am not in any way criticising OBGYNS and those in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology fields. I know that these medical professionals have studied for numerous years, are highly skilled and are being crushed by Medical Insurance.

My fear is that women are not having these important tests because of financial issues. This was a discussion on a Facebook group in which I am a member. Women were putting off these tests because it was financially not viable. Women – putting our health on the line because of money…

While I was searching for a more affordable option, Marie Stopes popped up in my browser.

Marie Stopes offers Pap Smears, Breast Exams, STI/HIV Screening and Testing and Various Antenatal Care Services. Well Woman Options starting from R650 for a Pap Smear, Breast Exam, Urine Analysis and Contraception Consultation. This is a much more affordable option.

They also offer various payment options and even payment plans.

Find a Clinic near you:

Period Poverty is a real issue in poorer communities.

Due to social and economic reasons many women do not have access to health care products, as simple as sanitary pads. Many young women and girls miss school as they have no access to menstrual health products.

Education is so incredibly important as a measure to lift oneself out of poverty. By missing school for a week every month, these young women are already on the back foot and put at a disadvantage - All because they were born female.

When you are living in poverty, literally every cent is precious. Tampons costs an estimated (dependent on the brand) R39.90 and Pads +-R15.00. This is a lot of money for people who have to choose between food and sanitary products.

These young women must use toilet paper, newspaper and other products for makeshift pads.

The shame that is associated with menstruation is incredibly harmful to young women and makes many young women not seek life-saving medical help.

I would love to see Menstrual Cups and other sanitary products being Free products in stores and handed out at clinics. Condoms are free in bathrooms, so why shouldn’t sanitary products? Sanitary products are not “luxury items” they are a necessity for 50% of our population, at some point in their lifetime.

Illegal Abortion Clinics.

Illegal abortion clinics are rife in South Africa. Now no matter where your beliefs in Abortion lie, you have to admit this is a huge issue. Young desperate ladies are being maimed or die from the butchers ( there is no better word to describe these people who take these vulnerable women’s money)

Take a walk around the city centre and you will see pamphlets for Abortion clinics. Its time we #TearThemDown2021 and join the fight against the scourge of backstreet abortions in South Africa.

Abortion is a polarising issue. Ethical, Political, Cultural and Religious beliefs all play into this topic. I don’t want to debate if Abortion is good or bad, however, I do believe that all South Africans deserve to have access to health care. That each woman should have the right to choose what is right for their body. South Africa has a huge problem with gender bases violence and rape, which compounds the issue.

Whatever these women’s reasons for seeking assistance with the termination of a pregnancy, I do believe that they should do it in a proper clinic with trained medical staff.

Information provided to me by Marie Stopes and the #TearThm,Down Campaign:

Pregnancy termination has been legal in South Africa since November 1996. However, even with legal options being available, the scourge of unsafe and illegal abortions is still staggering. Findings in 2018 estimated up to 58% of the 260 000 abortions carried out in South Africa to be illegal, needlessly injuring and even killing women in South Africa every year. Hence the #TearThemDown ambush campaign initiated by Marie Stopes in partnership with #BlueRibbon.

The #TearThemDown campaign is a movement to fight and shut down all illegal and unsafe abortion service providers in and around our communities all across South Africa.

Drive a positive message and remove the stigma related to seeking out abortion services, providing the safe solution of seeking help from reputable and medically qualified establishments such as Marie Stopes South Africa.”

Marie Stopes urges everyone to report illegal abortion clinics. You can do so on this link

Reproductive health care is our right. Lack of access, education and stigma are big hurdles that we need to overcome. Each and every woman should be able to choose, what happens to her body. Join in the conversation by following #BlueRibbon

I'm interested in women's health because I'm a woman. I'd be a darn fool not to be on my own side.

Maya Angelou

* Images supplied by Marie Stopes

#TearThemDown #SRH #MarieStopeSA #GirlTalkZA #BlueRibbon #Womenshealth #myhealth #healthblogger #MyBodyMyChoice #addyourvoice #IManageMyAbortion #Contraception

#FamilyPlanning #RightToChoose #endstigma #endillegalabortions #womensrights

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