16 February STI and Condom week February 16, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 Prevention is better than cure!, this is the message everyone took home during the Metro Aids Council Condom Week event held at Braelyn Hall on Tuesday 14 February. The event was organised with the aim to look into the National Condom Week which is commemorated each year from 14 February until 21 February. The City joined thousands of South Africans in observing this week to increase awareness and to help fight the spread of HIV and Aids as well as caution on myths and stigmas around the virus and sexuality focusing on the community. Speaking about the initiative, Co-Chair of Metro Aids Council Nzuzo Novuka said people must know the importance of getting tested so that they don’t live in fear. “If you’re not infected it doesn’t mean you’re not affected. It is important to ask questions about matters or issues one is not aware of to gain more knowledge. The more one gets more insight the more it is advantageous to share information not just with family members but with the community at large,” said Novuka. He also encouraged residents to attend such programmes “as these forums provide knowledge and a clearer understanding of the various forms of STIs, the symptoms and the importance of getting it checked out before it is too late.” Ward Councillor Mendi Wetsetse said, “The community of Buffalo City Metro both young and old need to be part of sessions like this one to gain more information and to increase their knowledge on STI’s and sexuality associated with HIV and Aids.” “Let us all be responsible, love one another, support and encourage each other,” she said. Giving words of support, Nokuthula Tsawu from the Metro’s Disability Forum said, “Persons living with disabilities also need a voice as they also have sexual needs and need to beware of the dangers of not using protection during intercourse. Tsawu mentioned that women and children living with disability are the most vulnerable not only towards being victims of sexual abuse but in contracting various sexual infections. “The disability sector supports this initiative to address the stigma and myths around disability, reproductive health and sexuality as well as to raise awareness about STI’s and condom usage.” As part of the programme of the day, testing centres were also set up to encourage residents to get tested not only for STI’s or HIV but for diabetes and blood pressure levels and also got an opportunity to pose questions and comments to eliminate their fears. Nolizwi Mantsanga a resident from Duncan Village also touched upon the importance of not discriminating against people living with HIV and Aids. “We should be more knowledgeable about the various infections so we can understand and assist other people in our communities who are not aware about the virus.” “I have learned a lot today and will take what I have learned and share it with my children and my community,” she said. . Related BCM celebrates World Environment Week The purpose of the visit was to provide an educational experience about wildlife and the environment with this year’s theme in mind Connecting People to Nature. The children had the opportunity to drive through the park with the Game Rangers where they were taught all the different wildlife kept in the park and how each species makes an important contribution to the environment. Avuyile Plaatjies a Grade 10 pupil said, “We are very excited to be here and learn about the wildlife in the park this is a rare opportunity for us.” Highlighted on the trip was also the importance of insuring the survival of each animal and safeguarding them from extinction that might result from poaching. The day is celebrated annually on the 5th of June to raise global awareness about the significance of a healthy environment and to solve various environmental issues by implementing some actions to protect nature and Earth, leading to a positive and healthy environment for all. Jane Galo from Environmental Services said, “We need to educate our children about the importance of keeping a cleaner greener environment. We need to protect our wildlife for further generations.” The City has a week-long schedule of events to celebrate the environment which includes an Environmental Management Inspectorate Workshop at the Nahoon Estuary Reserve Wednesday June 7, the handover of municipal recycling bins will be on Thursday June 8 and finally the Commemoration of World Economic Day at the Mdantsane Sun Friday June 9. Weekend raids in full swing This follows the successful raids that saw a number of illegal liquor operating establishments and places of entertainment shut down around the City's CBD area on the weekend of July 14 -16. On Friday July 21, Traffic Services issued an overall value of fines amounting to at least R29 900. A number of arrests and closing down of illegally operating shops were also made on the day. The success for the joint operation include: In East London one person was arrested for being in possession of cannabis cigarettes. 55 pirated DVDS, four cannabis cigarette and knives were confiscated. In King Williams Town, 174 traffic fines were issued and 25 people were arrested for driving under the influence. Section 56 issued 23 fines for non-complying shops and 21 were issued with notices while two were closed down due to failure of complying with the environmental health standard. BCM Traffic Commander Mr Quinton Chetty is available on 043 705 9309 upon request to take interviews for the detailed version of the operation. BCMM celebrates National Library Week As part of the celebration, Executive Mayor Xola Pakati officially launched the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator project to offer BCMM unemployed youth a chance to work. The launch was held on Tuesday 20 March at East London Central Library. On the day, Pakati also opened the new Children’s Library which has moved beyond the traditional library services, loaning out of books and providing a safe haven for children as well as to provide an area of study to be able to complete projects and assignments and sometimes just to do their homework. The purpose of the launch is to promote literacy and enhance libraries in Buffalo City, especially the culture of reading, as well as engage the community through targeted outreach programmes that are aimed at improving the lives of information-deprived communities who currently lack adequate access to information and books. Speaking about the projects, Pakati said, “Education is the great engine of personal development. There is no denying that giving the right education and foundation for our young people plays a significant role in reducing many social ills in our society.” “This therefore means that when a nation is properly educated, the nation benefits as there will be progress,” said Pakati. He also urged businesses to see value in investing in the communities that they are located in. The occasion brought acknowledgement of the services offered by Harambee and how the youth of Buffalo City Metro will benefit from the programmes. The Children’s Library also shows the importance of Early Childhood Development and the measures being implemented to address the low levels of literacy amongst school children. Masakhane Mlamla from the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator project said, “Harambe’s responsibility is to facilitate opportunities for young people to get a chance to work.” “Unemployment is one of our biggest challenges in the City and it is up to each individual to make the most of the opportunities we provide to get a job.” Mlamla said Harambee is very honoured to be in partnership with various stakeholders that include Buffalo City Metro, D.G. Murray Trust, Beyond Zero, Masimanyane Support Group, Small Projects Forum, Early Childhood Development as well as the Chamber of Commerce in working together to develop our society. Anathi Pule, who is One of the young people benefiting from the said the project has helped her a lot as she was struggling to get employment. “I have learned a lot from the programme. I really appreciate the effort by all the stakeholders in this project to reduce unemployment in our City. Today my life has changed for the better. I want to encourage others to join the project,” said Pule. Other activities that formed part of the library week celebrations included an exhibition of library material held at Vincent park mall and a visit to Sinomonde Primary School in Santa. The activities of the day at the school included story-telling, reading, picture book analysis and a spelling bee competition. National cleanup week campaign The workshop focused on waste as a resource and waste minimization initiatives with emphasis was on illegal dumping as it is a major issue in the area. Community members were educated on the dangers of illegal dumping as well as ways in which to dispose of waste in a safe manner. The campaign continues at the Sweetwaters Hall on Tuesday followed by cleanups in Tyutyu on Wednesday 13 August and Sweetwaters on Thursday 14 August. The Clean-up will focus of litter picking and separation of waste. During the campaign, the City will use two types of bags, one for recyclable waste and one general waste. The general waste will be collected by refuse trucks and the recyclable kept for the Recycling Day. The Recycling Day is held as a platform to increase the awareness concerning waste management and particularly to promote a cleaner environment to live, in and around urban areas. Community volunteers have been roped in along with EPWP’s, CWP’s and officials from various stakeholders. The main event will be held on Friday 15 August at the Sweetwaters Hall. On this day, volunteers will be sorting recyclable waste for the first two hours and the formal program at 10am with the Executive Mayor Xola Pakati as the Main Speaker. BCMM declares readiness for the weekend The City will host the African Nation Congress (ANC) January 08th statement at three stadiums on Saturday 13 January, with the main event being held at the Buffalo City Stadium in Arcadia. Pakati announced that the City has beefed its resources at the beachfront including lifeguards and cleaning staff as part of its festive season operations. These include the integrated joint operation with members of the East London /Mdantsane cluster, Provincial & Local Traffic, BCMM Law Enforcement, Environmental Health & Fire Safety in terms of the pillars of safer festive season back to basic, which is meant to cordon and search to check for illicit drugs, illegal fire arms, stolen vehicles and goods. This operation kicked off on Monday 8 January at North End - California Night Club, Belgravia Hotel, business premises, Quigney - Curry Court and Moore Street where 12 premises were searched,38 vehicles and 102 people. Three suspects were arrested for possession of drugs and one for housebreaking and trespassing. Traffic fines issued to value of R13 500 and four vehicles unroadworthy impounded by BCMM Traffic Department. Six undocumented persons were also arrested and detained at EL Police Station and the police force are waiting for Immigration to verify documents. Also found in some of the condemned properties in Quigney is 19 knives, a panga, dagga plants, two remote controls, a packet of tik, 20 females who are suspected to be involved in prostitution. The operations also included the Cambridge SAPS Cluster Roadblock on Tuesday 9 January at Amalinda N2, where 181 motor vehicles were stopped, 56 Summonses issued to the value of R23 100 and three men were arrested for being in possession of stolen goods and an undisclosed amount of money. Various streets around the venues will be closed on Saturday in order to manage the traffic, these streets include Brill Street at Tilney Street, Brill Street at Mill Street, Recreation Road at Commercial Road, Deyer Street, Recreation Road at Commercial Road, Recreation Road at Lambert Road. These operations are conducted to insure safety in the City. Pakati added that the Metro has ticked all the boxes and is ready to deliver an incident free event. Prevention is better than a cure Dayile was speaking at the Sexually Transmitted Infections and Condom Week event held at the City Hall on Friday 12 February. “South Africa currently has the biggest antiretrovirals (ARVs) programme in the world. Almost 3 million lives have been saved through various programmes and forums such as these organised by the Metro Aids Council (MAC) which are dedicated towards the fight towards of HIV/Aids,” said Dayile. The event was held to increase awareness and to help fight the spread of HIV and Aids, myths and stigmas around the virus. The Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) and Condom Week was commemorated from 7- 14 February 2016 with the theme Bring back the “I am responsible culture”. Amongst the various sectors there was BCMM Metro AIDS Council (MAC) which is a multi-stakeholder responsible for addressing vulnerability of persons being infected and affected by HIV and AIDS other sectors included the Disability Sector, The Elderly Forum, the BCMM Youth Council and the Gender Forum. Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said events of this nature allow people to share a common vision and discuss a common purpose in addressing a global issue that is affecting our societies. “We have a responsibility to be living examples in our communities we need to build our nation and the municipality has various programmes organised by the Metro Aids Council which is responsible for providing a platform for vulnerable groups to actively and meaningfully engage in creating developmental plans which will raise awareness around certain health issues such as STIs and HIV/Aids,” said Mtsi. There were various testing centres set up to encourage residents to get tested not only for STI’s or HIV but for diabetes and their blood pressure levels. A demonstration was undertaken by the BCMM Peer Educators on how to use and dispose of used male and female condoms. Speaking to the BCMM Website Team Ayanda Peter Special Programmes Unit Portfolio Head said it was important for us to create an event which would include all the sectors that we work with under the Special Programmes Unit. “It’s important that we uplift our communities and continue to remind them of the importance of using condoms and draw up strategies of how we can spread the word and create more awareness around STI and Condom Week,” said Peter. Nowase Solani a member of the BCMM Elderly Forum said it is important to hold these events and forums she said these sectors that are a part of the Special Programmes Unit need to reach out to the community and assist those that are infected and affected by HIV/Aids. “These forms provide a platform to share ideas and to exchange knowledge and provide a clearer understanding on various forms of STIs and the symptoms associated with them,” said Solani. A discussion was held where each member of the sectors under the Special Programmes Unit spoke about the theme for the year which is Bring back the “I am responsible culture” which motivates and promotes the young and the old to lead health and responsible lives. The members motivated the audience to use protection when they engage in sexual intercourse, they also discussed the importance of getting tested regularly for HIV/Aids, “Be responsible and know your status” was echoed throughout the discussions. Comments are closed.