World Health Day public health testing

“Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.” – Matthew 15:30

It was after Mass on World Health Day (7 April). Tents had been put up outside the Emmenuel Cathedral to show people the services of our Usizo Lwethu (Our Help) Clinic, and to encourage everyone to have some health checks.

By way of encouragement, I took my turn to have my weight, sugar level, blood pressure and HIV status tested.

Because I’m privileged to have good medical care, I could take my tests with confidence. But for many of the approximately 1 000 people who attend the clinic each month, it’s a different story.

Most of them are poor, homeless, elderly, or orphaned and vulnerable children. Many are infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. Some are disabled. And many are refugees from all over Africa, who’ve fled wars in their own country only to battle to stay alive on the unforgiving Durban City streets.

I call this my “inner city” mission, and look forward to the day when the clinic will move into the new Denis Hurley Centre – with more space and facilities to minister those who test positive for high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and other life threatening conditions.

Despite improvements in primary health care in our country, the Church still has a vital role to play in helping to heal the sick who have no means to access or pay for medical help.

As always, we are so grateful to the many concerned Catholics from all around the world who support our work here in South Africa.

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