Thuli Mpanza examines Dimpinah Nyamadzawo during a PinkDrive Breast Cancer Mobile Clinics launch at Soshanguve Community Healthcare Centre Block BB. Pictures: Bongani Shilubane/ African News Agency (ANA)
Thuli Mpanza examines Dimpinah Nyamadzawo during a PinkDrive Breast Cancer Mobile Clinics launch at Soshanguve Community Healthcare Centre Block BB. Pictures: Bongani Shilubane/ African News Agency (ANA)
Deputy Social Development Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Health Minister Joe Paahla, Sandile Sihlaba, Deputy head of mission at the Japanese Embassy Shuichiro Kawaguchi and  PinkDrive CEO and founder Noelene Kotschan cut a ribbon during the PinkDrive campaign.
Deputy Social Development Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Health Minister Joe Paahla, Sandile Sihlaba, Deputy head of mission at the Japanese Embassy Shuichiro Kawaguchi and PinkDrive CEO and founder Noelene Kotschan cut a ribbon during the PinkDrive campaign.
IT IS easy to find a million things you'd rather do than go for a health check, and just as easy to come up with reasons why that health check isn't really necessary.

This was according to Dimpinah Nyamadzawo, before she plucked up the courage to finally go for a mammogram.

“It was a scary thought. Breast cancer is the most feared cancer among women. Sometimes, it's not just the word ‘cancer’ that's at the root of the fear, but dread of issues associated with treating cancer, such as surgical complications and medication side effects,” she said.

But luckily for her, she dodged the bullet. Nurses reassured her that early detection could be helpful in managing breast cancer.

Nyamadzawo was one of the many women who attended the PinkDrive mobile unit launch at the Soshanguve Community Healthcare Centre yesterday.

PinkDrive, in partnership with the Department of Social Development introduced two new mobile Women and Child Health Units during a community outreach event in Soshanguve. These newly-funded units are in the form of Nissan minibus vehicles.

From about 10am women from diverse backgrounds gathered at the centre where some were terrified of being screened while some took it in their stride and put up brave faces.

The two mobile clinics, which will offer cervical cancer screening in the form of pap smears, clinical breast examinations as well as basic infant services to citizens with no medical aid, were sponsored by the Embassy of Japan.

Shuichiro Kawaguchi, the Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Japanese Embassy, said the embassy was humbled to work hand in hand with PinkDrive and DSD.

“Japan recognises the important work that PinkDrive and the department are doing in the South African cancer space. We know that the additional two vehicles will further assist them in delivering their screening services and to reach more citizens,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, emphasised that the launch was not only about detecting cancer, but promoting a healthy lifestyle.

She said the units would assist the department in taking its mandate of developing people forward.

“Social development is the mother, father and heartbeat of the nation. When the mother passes on, it is us that must pick up the pieces. Our business is about strengthening families. We have a responsibility to assist families become strong and healthy so they can assist us in combating poverty,” Bogopane-Zulu said.

The chief executive and founder of PinkDrive, Noelene Kotschan, echoed Kawaguchi's reasoning. “These additional units will assist us to go beyond our current reach. One of these units will be deployed to KwaZulu-Natal to help bridge the gap in healthcare services.”

During his debut State of the Nation Address speech in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa, also made reference to the importance of taking effective measures to raise awareness about chronic diseases including cancer. “We need to confront lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular diseases. In the next three months, we will launch a huge cancer campaign similar to the HIV counselling and testing campaign. This will also involve the private sector as we need to mobilise all resources to fight this disease.”

Hosted under the theme: “Early Detection Saves Lives”, the outreach event included the SA Social Security Agency grant assistance, HIV/Aids testing and Home Affairs.”