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A health fun day at Dobsonville Stadium went all out to promote healthy choices, from exercising to regular screenings for diseases. There was also a 5km fun walk.


BRIGHT and early on Sunday morning, Dr Refik Bismilla, the City of Johannesburg’s executive director of health, went on a 5km walk.


MMC for health Bengeza Mthombeni The fun walk will be an annual event, says MMC for health Bengeza MthombeniHe was joined by more than 1 300 other walkers, all taking part in a fun walk in Soweto. It was part of a health department open day taking place at the Dobsonville Stadium on 20 February – the first to take place in the City’s Region D.

The fun-filled event was attended by the member of the mayoral committee for health, Bengeza Mthombeni; the deputy director of health, Mabel Ngcobo; and the councillor for ward 48, Jacquire Lekgetho.

The walk started at the corner Montlabtla and Mngadi streets and ended back at the stadium. The first 30 walkers to return got gold metals and certificates. It may become an annual event. “The department will be looking to make the fun walk an annual event,” Mthombeni said. “Next year we will have a 5km walk and a 10km run.”

He applauded members of the community for supporting the event and urged them to participate in other sports. “I am looking forward to running the Soweto Marathon and I will also be part of the Two Oceans Marathon.”

The day was held to promote healthy living, and in so doing prevent illness. “The focus is on prevention and raising awareness about measures that our people can follow in adopting a healthy lifestyle,” Ngcobo said.


The elderly get tested for high blood pressureThe elderly get their blood pressure testedSharing health pointers, Bismilla said: “Stop smoking, lose weight, eat healthy food, exercise and don’t worry, be happy.” Prevention of disease would save money, compared to treating sick patients, he added.

Health screening
There were testing stalls for diseases such as HIV, diabetes and prostate cancer. There were also facilities for women to get pap smears. Nurses were on hand to discuss results and answer health queries.

Health officials also gave talks on eating healthily, choosing fresh fruit and vegetables when shopping, and the need to practise good hygiene.

Ngcobo pointed out that most people were not aware they were living with diseases and she urged them “to visit clinics and hospitals regularly to check on their general state of health. People must not only go to clinics and hospitals when they are already sick.”

Bismilla encouraged people to use the recreational facilities available in their neighbourhoods. “There are stadiums, swimming pools and a gym in this area; use them to your advantage with a focus on creating a healthy lifestyle.”

Parents should take responsibility to ensure their children were actively participating in sport. This was one way of preventing obesity, he added.


The local swimming poolChildren compete in the local swimming poolThe local swimming pool was the scene of much attention, with crowds cheering youngsters as they raced to the finishing line in several swimming heats. In another activity, children performed the popular Sof’town “bum jive”, bringing back fond memories for their parents and grandparents.

Young children squealed as they bounced on a giant jumping castle; parents relaxed on grandstands keeping an eye on events. Schoolchildren dazzled the adults with their drama about South Africa and the birth of democracy.

And local traders sold their products, including traditional clothes, necklaces and shoes – there was a festive atmosphere throughout.

Department of health career counsellors were also present to share information about job opportunities, pointing out that nurses were always in need.

Young people were encouraged to attend an open day at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on Saturday, 12 March, a day aimed at encouraging people to take up nursing as a career. Interested candidates were urged to bring along their matric certificates.

Sponsors who supported the day included the Johannesburg metro police department, Joburg Water, the department of urban management, Pikitup and the Joburg marketing department. Private sector supporters were Cellfood, Liberty Life, MAQ, KNOQ and Ekhaya Health Fitness.

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