People across South Africa took health care to the people as part of the 2019 Rotary Family Health Days. This programme is run as a private/public partnership between Rotary, the Department of Health and a number of other partners.

The seventh annual Rotary Family Health Days event took place from 2-4 October in all nine provinces. The aim this year was to bring free health services to a record 100 000 people.

Rotary Family Health Days offer free health services and vital screening, testing and referrals to communities who may not have access to quality care. These services include HIV counselling and testing; screening for TB, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol and Vitamin A supplementation and immunisations to name a few. The programme is implemented in alignment with the objectives of the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB 2017-2022, the South African National Aids Council, the Presidential Cheka Impilo Campaign and the Department of Health Phila initiative.

A team of community volunteers from local Rotary clubs manage each site and the Rotarians are often joined by other local NGOs, businesses and government departments as local site partners at each of the planned 120 sites across the country.

This year, the Rotary Club of Newlands provided services to over 600 people at the Power Child Campus in Mfuleni. There were 50 volunteers and service providers on site each day, in classrooms, offices and outdoors. Peninsula Beverages supplied several colourful gazebos which provided much needed shade for the clients, volunteers and service providers.

This year, we were delighted to welcome Hungry Lion as a partner – they graciously provided meals for the volunteers and service providers, which helped ensure that the services could continue uninterrupted throughout the day.

The most popular service offered, was again the vision screening.  Over 300 residents of Mfuleni were given reading glasses, and almost 50 people were referred to Specsavers for a more in-depth assessment. There were several heart-warming moments when faces lit up with enormous smiles and people exclaimed, “Ooh, I can see again, now I can read my Bible!”