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1-31 Anti-tobacco Campaign Month
Burns Awareness Month
International Multiple Sclerosis Month
5 World Hand Hygiene Day
5 International Midwives Day
6-12 National Burns Awareness Week
6-13 Hospice Week
8 World Red Cross Day
10 Global Move for Health Day
12 International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases
12 International Nurses Day
15 May -15 Jun Go Turquoise for the Elderly Campaign
17 World Hypertension Day
27 May- 3 Jun National Child Protection Week
28 International Day of Action for Women’s Health
31 World No Tobacco Day


Caring Families

Vaccines play an important role in keeping us healthy. It protects us from serious and sometimes deadly diseases. Download the State EPI Schedule and ensure your children are up-to-date with their vaccinations.



Consumer Tip

Public holidays and school vacations mean a chance to let your hair down and celebrate. By making smarter spending choices, you can have fun as a family without racking up unexpected costs.

Instead of going out to a restaurant, take your family to a beautiful local picnic spot, beach, dam or public swimming pool. Enjoy some tasty home-cooked picnic food and snacks, and let the kids run a little wild in the great outdoors. Much more fun, at a much smaller cost!


Immunisation Awareness

Immunisation is regarded as one of the greatest achievements in medical history, preventing millions of illness-related deaths over the years. Before immunisation, diseases like measles, meningitis and polio would claim the lives of thousands people every year.

What is Immunisation?
Immunisation is the word we use for the process of creating immunity (protection against a disease) by artificial means. This immunity is created through the use of a serum called a vaccine; usually in the form of an injection.

When somebody is given a vaccine (this process is called vaccination), their body learns how to recognise a certain disease, and how to fight it off effectively. We can then say that the patient has immunity (protection) against the disease.

Why is Immunisation Important?

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that immunisation currently saves as many as three million lives every year.
  • Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective health interventions available.
  • Prevention is better than cure; immunisation can last for years, or even a lifetime, preventing the need for other costly medications and treatments.
  • Vaccines are highly accessible to those who could otherwise not afford comprehensive healthcare. Most vaccines for children are available free of charge at local public clinics and community health centres.
  • Immunisation is safe, and becoming safer and more effective all the time thanks to advanced medical research and development.
  • Immunisation is the most important and effective way for parents to protect their children against serious diseases. Many serious childhood illnesses can be completely prevented by giving children the necessary vaccines.
  • Immunisation doesn’t just protect the individual being vaccinated; it also creates “herd immunity”, by reducing the spread of disease within the community.

Did You Know? Since the introduction of vaccines, the rates of diseases caused by the haemophilus influensae type B bacterium have declined by 90%. That means a 90% drop in polio, measles, hepatitis B, rubella, diphtheria, whooping cough and meningitis!

What Happens without Immunisation?

  • Children who have not been immunised are at high risk of becoming infected with serious diseases.
  • Some serious (and deadly) infectious diseases can only be prevented through immunisation; there are no effective alternatives.
  • For vaccines to provide herd immunity, a certain percentage of individuals within a community need to be immunised. If immune coverage starts to drop, the risk of disease will rise and outbreaks will start occurring.
  • Only once a disease has been completely eradicated worldwide can immunisation be discontinued safely. Many of these diseases have become very rare, but could return if immunisation rates fall.
  • Immunisation is there to keep you and your family safe. Without it, the health we take for granted could be very seriously threatened, with long-gone diseases returning in epidemic proportions.

If you have any questions about immunisation, our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day.



What is immunisation? Retrieved from:



Tips for an Easier Business Trip

Jetting off to an international location at the company’s expense might sound like a dream come true to many employees – but seasoned business travellers can tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds!

Business trips can put you under a lot of pressure, knowing that your company is trusting you to represent them, and expecting results. The stakes are high, and every meeting, presentation and client interaction requires careful planning.

International travel can take its toll on your health, and the added pressure of your company’s expectations can leave you feeling stressed out and run down. Here are a few smart ways to make sure you’re prepared for the challenges of your next business trip.

Prepare Your Papers
If you are responsible for making your own travel arrangements, be sure to book well in advance. Reserve your tickets and accommodation, as well as a rental car if needed. Find out which documents you need (such as passports, visas or an international driver’s license).

Put together a detailed itinerary for your trip, including the following:

  • Details of the hotels and car rental company you will be using;
  • Dates and times of all business meetings scheduled;
  • Contact information of all the people you are meeting (in case of delays or emergencies).

It’s also a good idea to find out if your home country has an embassy or consulate in your destination country, in case you run into an emergency or a dangerous situation.

Smart Packing
Start making a list of what to pack a few weeks ahead, and gradually add to it until you’re ready to start packing your suitcase. Start with essential items such as your laptop, reports and contracts, and travel documents; then move onto clothes, toiletries and extras. This will help you to avoid leaving anything important behind.

Just in case your luggage or laptop goes missing, be sure to back up your information, presentations and documents onto a flash drive or external hard drive. Store this drive safely and separately, either in your carry-on bag or on your person.

Health Check
Confirm whether you need to have vaccinations or specific medications (like malaria pills) before your trip. Make sure you get all the right vaccinations in good time, and book a general health check-up as well if necessary. Some travellers also find it helps to take immune-boosters before their flight, to protect them from catching troublesome bugs.

If you’re on any medications, ensure that your doctor prescribes you enough to last for the duration of your trip.

Money Matters
Find out about your company’s travel expense and reimbursement policies. Keep track of what you spend, and keep all your receipts. This will protect you against unexpected personal costs while travelling.

Make sure you have enough of the right currency for use while you travel, and confirm that your bank card can be used at your destination.

Be Informed
When you’re travelling to a different country, especially on business, it pays to be informed about the local culture and etiquette. Certain behaviours, phrases and physical gestures can be interpreted very differently from one country to the other.

Because you’re representing your company, you want to make sure you create a good impression and avoid offending anyone. Do your research before you set off.

When you’re properly prepared, you’ll find it much easier to relax and enjoy the excitement that comes with visiting a new destination.





Fast Facts about South Africa’s Listeriosis Outbreak

There has been a lot of worry surrounding the recent outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa. Listeriosis is a serious medical condition that can, in some cases, be life-threatening. It’s important not to panic based on misinformation and unfounded fears.

The best thing to do right now is to empower yourself, by making sure you know all the facts about Listeriosis. Here are some straight answers to common questions and concerns about the outbreak.

What is Listeriosis?

Listeriosis is an infection caused by a bacterium called Listeria. People can become infected by eating food that’s been contaminated with this bacterium.

How is Listeriosis Spread?

Listeria is found in soil and water, and also in some animals like cattle and poultry. That means there are a few different ways this food-borne disease can spread.

Animals carrying Listeria can contaminate meat and dairy products. Processed foods like cold meats and soft cheeses can be contaminated after processing, especially if quality control is lacking during production. Unpasteurised (raw) milk and raw dairy products can also spread Listeriosis.

In some cases, even vegetables can carry Listeria, if they are grown in contaminated soil or fertilised with contaminated animal manure.

The current outbreak in South Africa has been traced back to ready-to-eat processed meat products – and the companies concerned have started the recalling process.

Am I at Risk?

Healthy adults and children with normally functioning immune systems are unlikely to become seriously ill from Listeria.

People with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, babies, pregnant women, people with cancer or diabetes, and people living with HIV/Aids are at a significantly higher risk.

A Listeria infection during pregnancy carries higher risk so pregnant women must take special care. Babies can also be born with the infection if the mother eats contaminated foods during her pregnancy. Listeriosis in babies is very serious and can be fatal.

How do I know if I have Listeriosis?

If you’ve eaten a contaminated product, it’s important to look out for common symptoms of Listeriosis, so that you can get treatment as soon as possible.

Listeriosis symptoms typically appear within a few days of infection, although it may take as long as 30 days for the symptoms to start. The infection usually resembles a ‘flu bug’. The infected person will experience fever and chills, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea. Listeriosis can also affect the nervous system, with symptoms such as headaches, neck stiffness, mental confusion, and even convulsions.

If you’re experiencing signs of Listeriosis, immediately seek treatment with your healthcare practitioner. While some infections will clear up on their own, others may require antibiotic treatments.

How can I Protect Myself from Listeriosis?

As always, prevention is better than cure. The good news is you can keep yourself (and your family) safe from infection by following a few sensible steps:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food.
  2. Store uncooked meat separately from cooked foods, ready-to-eat foods and vegetables.
  3. Keep your refrigerator clean; wipe up any spills immediately, to prevent Listeria growth.
  4. Cook raw animal-derived foods (beef, pork or poultry) thoroughly before eating.
  5. Wash your kitchen knives and cutting boards thoroughly after handling uncooked foods.
  6. Keep cooked hot foods hot and cold foods cold, to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  7. Avoid unpasteurised (raw) milk, and dairy products made from raw milk.
  8. Scrub raw vegetables thoroughly before eating, using a clean produce brush and clean water.
  9. If you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system, avoid high risk foods like hot dogs, deli meats, polony, soft cheeses and pâté.
  10. Reheating contaminated food won’t make it safe. If you’re unsure whether a food is safe, err on the side of caution and don’t eat it.

If you have any further questions or concerns about Listeriosis, get in touch with your doctor or local clinic. Be smart, be informed, and be safe!



Symptoms associated with Listeriosis:

7 Things you need to know about the Listeriosis outbreak:

Listeria (Listeriosis): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment:

Food Safety:

Everything we know so far about the Listeriosis outbreak:



2 World Autism Awareness Day
7 World Health Day
17 World Haemophilia Day
24-30 African Vaccination Week
25 World Malaria Day


Caring Families

If you’re celebrating Earth Hour with your family this March, here’s a fun and inclusive way to get your friends and neighbours involved.

Host an eco-friendly potluck supper, where each family brings a surprise dish. The challenge is that the dishes must be served without using power or heat, making this a great opportunity to unleash your creativity in the kitchen. Enjoy!


Honouring Human Rights for All

A healthy society is just as important as a healthy body or mind. Happy, healthy societies are those based on a strong foundation of human rights. These are fundamental rights that you are entitled to, simply because you were born human – regardless of your race, sex, language, nationality or religious beliefs.

What are Human Rights?

A human right is defined as “a right which is believed to belong to every person.” Human rights are based on core principles like liberty, fairness, equality, dignity and respect. These rights give us the freedom to build happy lives of a high quality, and also protect us from unfair or undue government interference.

Unfortunately human rights abuses do happen, but a good way to prevent this is to stay informed about your basic rights, and the rights of others. Countries around the world have official documentation outlining the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of those living there (for example, a Bill of Rights or a Constitution). Make sure you’re familiar with the rights upheld by law in your country.

Rights & Responsibilities

With human rights come human responsibilities. Nobody should use their rights as a license to simply do whatever they feel like, or to infringe on the rights of their fellow humans.

As a human being protected by human rights, a certain standard of behaviour is expected from you. What can you do to take responsibility for upholding human rights in your community?

Be an Advocate for Human Rights

There are so many ways to keep human rights alive, for yourself and those around you. Here are ten ways to become a better advocate for human rights:

  1. Obey the rules and laws put in place to enforce safety and protect human life
  2. Treat people from all walks of life with respect and dignity
  3. Be honest and fair in all your dealings with others (business or personal)
  4. Be kind and compassionate to all human beings
  5. Respect other people’s beliefs, and their right to (respectfully) express those beliefs
  6. Protect both private and public property from destruction and theft
  7. Protect the environment by making eco-friendly choices and using resources sparingly
  8. Find peaceful ways of solving interpersonal conflicts
  9. Speak up against and report acts of racism, sexism or xenophobia
  10. Speak up against and report physical and verbal abuse, bullying, threats and extortion

By accepting your human responsibilities and setting a good example to others, you’ll be playing an active role in upholding basic human rights in your community. Just one individual speaking up and doing the right thing can make a big difference!



Building a culture of responsibility and humanity in our schools. Retrieved from:

Connecting human rights to everyday life. Retrieved from:

What are human rights Retrieved from:

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