Cape Town – There should be no shame in seeking sexual and reproductive healthcare, says professional nurse Cathleen Grant, who often reminds patients that it’s okay to ask for help when they visit their healthcare providers.
Having worked at the Bellville Reproductive Health Centre for close to a decade, Grant is passionate about counselling and empowering people to build habits that can positively impact their reproductive health.
She says many young people visit her facility for advice, and she ensures that they understand the effects of poor reproductive health and the services available to them.
Grant says she often counsels people who are “afraid” or “ashamed” to use the service due to stigma associated with it.
She believes in treating patients with kindness and compassion.
“I’ll always tell patients that I cannot force them to make decisions, but I can provide counselling to educate them on the measures that they can take to improve their reproductive health. We want a healthy South Africa, but we need to be compliant and follow health advice and treatment given by trained medical practitioners.”
A lack of sexual and reproductive healthcare services and education can lead to ill health, Grant says.
This includes the spread of sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies, unsafe termination of pregnancies and maternal deaths, among other things.
“On STI treatment, if people don’t get tested or use treatment, things can get worse. There are long-term effects for not treating an STI.
“It’s important that people know that this service is available to them. We are here to educate, treat and empower communities through reproductive healthcare services. We can’t tell people how to live their lives, but we can help them to make good decisions.”
Other services available at provincial facilities include:
Cervical cancer care.
Male reproductive health services.
Free pap Smear services.
Termination of Pregnancy service.
Testicular cancer care.
Help is available at Bellville Reproductive Health Centre: 0219462306; Andrology Clinic (Groote Schuur) 0214046027; Family Planning Clinic (Tygerberg) 0219384447; Cape Town Reproductive Clinic 0214252004; and Khayelitsha Site B Youth Centre 0214442809.