The University of Zululand (UNIZULU) Campus Health Clinic began its annual First Things First (FTF) campaign yesterday (Tuesday, 12 February) at the KwaDlangezwa Campus where it was well-received by students.
The FTF programme is an initiative of the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) which aims to amplify the notion of making one’s health a priority. The campaign is run in higher education institutions and TVET colleges where students are encouraged to regularly test and/or screen for major ailments such as HIV, TB, STI, cancer and cardiovascular risk factors, among others.
The UNIZULU leg of the campaign which started yesterday is being run until Friday, 15 February. According to Sphamandla Mafuleka, VCT Lay Counsellor at the Campus Health Clinic, this year’s FTF programme is exciting. “We have a variety of services that both students and staff can make use of. These include HIV testing, TB screening, STI screening, cervical cancer screening, medical male circumcision, pregnancy testing and reproductive health. We have daily giveaways and an exciting Valentine’s Day competition planned for Thursday. I encourage everyone to come take part in the activities every day,” said Mafuleka.
The Campus Health Clinic aims to reach a minimum of 100 students daily. Already at the start of the FTF activities yesterday, students had flocked to the “All You Need” venue, ready to check their health statuses.
Third-year Development Studies student Nontsikelelo Ntaka said she came to test for HIV because she understands the importance of knowing her status. Duduzile Gumede, a BCom Foundation student, shared the same sentiments. “I test regularly for HIV at three month intervals. I really encourage everyone to do the same. Being reluctant won’t help. Not knowing where you stand health wise is risky,” Gumede added.
Lizwi Mbuyazi, a third-year Environmental Planning and Development student who was testing for HIV for the second time, said, irrespective of what his test results would reveal, he was ready to take whatever necessary action in order to remain healthy.
– Naledi Hlefane
Peer educators assisting with the 2019 national First Things First campaign at the KwaDlangezwa Campus.