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Health & Wellness

Put your mental well-being first during tough times

Article by Alan Shannon, Executive for Nedbank Small Business and Private Clients

For many small and medium enterprise (SME) owners, running a business isn't just a job but an integral part of who they are. The boundaries between personal and business life often blur, meaning that the health of their businesses is inextricably tied to their personal, emotional, and mental well-being. This means that the many unique challenges facing these business owners can have a profound impact on their mental health.

Touching the hearts and minds through design-thinking communication

The Oxford Dictionary defines communication as “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”. It seems simple but the process itself prompts, among others, the following questions: Does it apply to individual or mass interaction? Is it face-to-face or digitalised? Does it aim to inform, require action or simply put minds at ease? As part of its communication strategy, Medihelp continually aims to differentiate and institute various methods, such as segmentation and hyper-personalisation, and channels to address and contextualise variables. The challenge is not only to diversify the communication platform but to ensure that the message is heard and taken to heart – not an easy task in a world where information overload is a real concern.

Time to quit. World No-Tobacco Day

‘Billion deaths can be prevented this century, if governments act now to reduce tobacco use’. [World Health Organization]

Ahead of World No-Tobacco Day, commemorated annually on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on governments to adopt policies that shield children from exposure to harmful tobacco products.

This year’s theme: ‘Protecting children from tobacco industry interference’, gives young people across the world, the platform to urge the tobacco industry to stop targeting them with products that are harmful to their health.

Statistics indicate that smoking among young people remains high. More than 38 million youngsters, aged between 13 and 15, are using some form of tobacco. Tobacco use affects all communities. It has direct harmful effects on health, but also impacts a country’s economy and environment and hinders their achievement of Sustainable Development Goals*. 

Key facts about Cholera

South Africa had recorded at least 46 suspected cholera cases in the first month of 2024. According to the Minister of Health, three of these cases were due to cross-border travel. With these outbreaks making headline news, Dr Themba Hadebe, Clinical Executive at Bonitas Medical Fund has put together eight key facts about cholera. Researchers have estimated that each year there are around 1.3 to 4.0 million reported cases of cholera, resulting in between 21 000 to 143 000 deaths. However, general consensus is that this is under-estimated because of low reporting and limited laboratory services.

Measles – It’s a serious illness

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of an ‘alarming’ increase in measles cases – almost 45-fold in Europe last year - but outbreaks of new cases and even deaths are being reported globally. WHO believe this is a result of fewer children being vaccinated against the disease, especially during the Covid pandemic.

However, measles is preventable, thanks to a vaccine that was introduced in 1963. Since 2000, the measles vaccination programme has averted an estimated 57 million deaths worldwide.  However, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted global vaccination activities which, in 2021, resulted in the lowest measles-containing-vaccine first-dose (MCV1) coverage levels since 2008.

TB – serious but curable

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious public health issue in South Africa.  280 000 people fell ill with TB during 2022 and, of these, an estimated 54 200 died from the disease. South Africa is one of the 30 high burden TB countries, contributing 87% of the estimated cases worldwide.  According to the Department of Health, the main driver of TB infection is HIV, with around 48% of TB patients living with HIV.

As a member of the United Nations, South Africa has committed to reducing new TB cases by 80% by 2030, compared with 2015 levels. Clinical data presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that our country is meeting some of its targets but there are still too many people falling ill and dying.

Talking about HPV and cervical cancer

The theme for 2024 Cervical Cancer Awareness is, ‘Learn. Prevent. Screen.’ South Africa has a high rate of cervical cancer which has been attributed to the fact that not enough women are screened regularly. Screening can detect early changes in the cervix, which can be treated and may save your life.

Dr Themba Hadebe, Clinical Executive at Bonitas Medical Fund, gives the low down on cervical cancer - caused by persistent infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), why it is essential to screen for the virus and the development of a vaccine to help prevent it.

Your secret weapon against absenteeism: the transformative power of a company medical scheme

Imagine it's crunch time: your team is knee-deep in a high-stakes project, the pressure is mounting, and then, your lynchpin player vanishes off the radar... not for the first time. It's a scenario that sends shivers down the spine of any leader. The spectre of absenteeism looms large, threatening to derail projects, inflate workloads, and sow discord among your ranks. Yet, there's a beacon of hope that could dramatically alter this landscape: a comprehensive company medical scheme.

Don’t be cent-wise and rand-foolish with your health

In today’s tough economic environment, people look for ways to cut costs and stretch their budget. In many instances, this means considering a cheaper medical aid plan. But, cheaper does not always mean better as many other factors besides price play a vital role in your decision.

When you shop around for a medical aid plan that suits your pocket, it is important to think carefully about the following aspects.

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