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Health & Wellness

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.

The gift of sound

‘The thing about hearing loss is that no one can see it.’

World Hearing Day on March 3, 2023, highlighted the importance of integrating ear and hearing care, within primary healthcare care.

Hearing loss is more common than we think - up to 19% of South African school children suffer from varying degrees of hearing difficulty. Hearing is the foundation for speech and language development as well as learning and communication. The long-term impact of losing one of the key senses, has a major impact on the quality of life.

Navigating entrepreneurship: the crucial role of mental resilience

For entrepreneurs with a natural drive to work autonomously, build a dream and make a meaningful contribution towards the economic development of their communities and country, nothing is more rewarding than launching and running a successful business. However, while the achievement of these ambitions is often spoken about in a positive light, there are several significant downsides. The demands of owning a small business can take an incredible toll on your mental health, which is why prioritising your wellbeing as an entrepreneur is vital in achieving long-term success.

Movember – it’s not just about prostate health

November or Movember is traditionally when men around the world grow a moustache to raise awareness and funds for men's health - specifically prostate cancer. And, although the campaign is synonymous with prostate cancer, it’s also about testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

The clinical team at Bonitas Medical Fund take us through some of the essential health checks and screenings for men. These are tests to check for diseases and health conditions, even before you have any symptoms. By detecting diseases early, they are often easier to treat.

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