When our first Community Health Day was held in Nqileni in April attendance was mainly by the older people in the village. Because the Health Day workshop focused on issues about HIV/AIDS, Health in Pregnancy and other sexual and reproductive health issues, we needed to attract more young people. For the Health Days that followed, we then revved it up a bit with blaring dance music, goodie bag give-aways, raffle competitions and of course, a tasty, hearty lunch. The events have now become heaps of fun with hundreds of community members from teenagers to elderly people taking advantage of the free voluntary HIV testing and counselling facilities provided on site.
While we try to make these events fun, the seriousness of the spread of HIV cannot be taken lightly. There is still an alarmingly high number of people that simply give up when they are diagnosed positive. We are now developing plans to build family and community support groups and with the help of Madwaleni Hospital to bring critical support services and medication closer to the communities.