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Women’s health services at all clinics

Make the arrival of Spring the start of a new season for your health. Make use of the all-inclusive services offered at Western Cape Government Health’s facilities, without hesitation.

The department calls on women to talk to health-care workers about their needs.

Which family planning method do you prefer? Is your pregnancy a crisis? Has your baby missed an immunisation? Our staff is there to assist you in every phase of your life.

“You always have a choice,” says Philbe Nieuwenhuizen, a social worker at a Western Cape Government Health facility in the Cape Winelands. “There are women who are struggling and do not know where to turn.”

At health-care facilities you can expect support by experts like Nieuwenhuizen, nurses, mental health staff, and more. Drawing on the expertise of staff of different professions enables them to provide you with comprehensive services that are in line with South African legislation.

Some of the most prominent services the clinics offer include:. Information about your body, self-care and protection from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Contraceptives that you can rely on for the long term. Access to emergency contraception (to be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex). Free pregnancy tests. Information and support during your pregnancy, the birth, early childhood. Information and support about options like terminating a pregnancy and adoption. Support to moms with young children (eg nutrition and immunisation)

Seek support early on

The sooner you confirm your pregnancy the better you can plan.

Arrangements can be made about follow-up visits so that mom and baby stay healthy.

Information and counselling are also available if you choose to terminate the pregnancy. Staff are specifically trained to support you in this choice, and a number of their facilities are recognised as facilities where pregnancies can be terminated, but with the correct support and procedures to do so.

If women do not seek help at a Western Cape Government Health facility it can happen that she risks her life by going for a “back-street abortion’ or that the child is abandoned.

We are working with partners to ensure instances such as these are reduced,” says Marietjie Bezuidenhout of NorSA, a non-governmental organisation, that is registered to facilitate adoptions. “Pregnancy can be a crisis for a woman. Maybe she feels she cannot care for the child, or she is in an abusive relationship. There can be many reasons.”

As part of the process all parties have access to counselling – an element that is missing when a child is abandoned. If an abandoned child is found and adopted, the parents will not have essential information to share with the child. This can cause the child to experience a sense of loss. You can also be charged for child abandonment. “Adoption is a gift to people who are ready to be parents,” she says.

So visit your clinic where you can access confidential consultations, so you can be informed and prioritise your well-being and that of your family.

Whom can you call for help?

Your local clinic, Department of Social Development: 0800 220 250 or 021 483 5045; Cape Town Child Welfare Society: 021 638 3127.

NoRSA: 021 873 5636.

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