Youth-friendly health services available for free in the Western Cape

Young men, free health services and check-ups are available for you. Picture by Ron McClenny/Unsplash

Young men, free health services and check-ups are available for you. Picture by Ron McClenny/Unsplash

Published Jun 21, 2023


As we celebrate Youth Month this June, healthcare workers are calling on all young men and parents of boys to check in on their health more regularly.

According to the Western Cape Burden of Disease Report, the top five causes of death for men in the Western Cape between 2009 and 2016 were: intentional injuries (i.e. violence), HIV/AIDS and TB, cancers, other non-communicable illnesses, and cardiovascular disease.

Despite these health concerns, global studies indicate that men are often less likely to seek support for their health than women.

Dr Abdul Sungay, of the Metro Men's Health Centre in Bellville, has urged young men to prioritise their health and wellbeing.

He emphasised that men's health encompasses more than just reproductive health, adding that it also includes mental wellbeing. He encouraged young men to seek help and support from available health services for preventative care.

Metro Men’s Health Centre doctor Abdul Sungay encourages men to take care of their health and wellness by getting regular check-ups. Picture: Supplied

Free men's health services are available throughout the Western Cape province at public clinics and wellness centres.

Ryno Arendse, Nursing Manager at Ruyterwacht Community Day Centre, supported the call for young men's prioritisation of their health, emphasising that they must learn and practise good health habits from an early age.

Free health services for men and boys are also available, accessible, and confidential.

Ryno Arendse, Nursing Manager at Ruyterwacht Community Day Centre. Picture: Supplied

Care for your mental health

Mental health is important. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that suicide is one of the main causes of death for people between the ages of 15 and 19 and that depression and anxiety are among the primary causes of illness and disability among teenagers.

Half of adult mental health illnesses begin by the age of 14. However, the majority of instances go undiagnosed and untreated.

Whether you are 14 or 34, it is acceptable to talk to someone you trust if you are having trouble coping. Various helplines are available to you, said Dr Sungay, including:

  • Lifeline Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0800 121 314 /0861 322 322
  • SADAG – Toll-free number – 0800 567 567
  • Adcock Ingram Helpline – 0800 708 090
  • Akeso Psychiatric Response – 0861 435 787
  • Childline – 0800 055 555 or 116
  • Dr Reddy’s Helpline – 0800 212 223

Know your status

HIV remains a significant public health issue worldwide, with 40.1 million lives claimed by the virus to date and ongoing transmission in all countries.

While there is currently no known cure for HIV, access to effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care has transformed the virus into a manageable chronic health condition. This has enabled people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.

If you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted infection, it is crucial to seek help immediately at your nearest clinic, wellness hub, or men's centre and get tested regularly.

Dr Sungay emphasised that all consultations and tests are confidential, ensuring that your status remains safe with them.

Know your risks

“Unhealthy habits can lead to chronic illnesses.”

You’re never too young to develop a chronic illness. Unhealthy diets are one of the major risk factors for a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity.

He added, “Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats.

“Unhealthy habits, such as smoking and excessive alcohol use also put your health at risk. Smoking is associated with lung disease, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.”

Free health services and advice: Where to access them

Western Cape Government Health and Wellness clinics now offer improved access for youth to access youth-friendly services such as contraceptives, condoms, and STI testing and screening.

To get support, visit your local clinic or consider the Metro Men's Health Centre in Bellville.

The centre offers various services, including health education, wellness screening, vasectomy, chronic disease screening, HIV counselling and testing, STI treatment and education, and more.

Men can easily book an appointment using the mobile appointment line or by sending a message via WhatsApp or SMS to 079 530 2593. The centre is open from Monday to Friday, from 07:00 until 16:00.

Read the latest issue of HEALTH digital magazine here.