The Higher Education and Training Health, Wellness and Development Centre, known as Higher Health has urged staff and students, especially first-year students, to make their personal health and wellness a priority.  

In a communique sent to all public universities and TVET colleges, Higher Health CEO Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia said that the mission of his office is to ‘inspire success through improving wellbeing among students across all our public university and TVET campuses’.

‘The transition from childhood to adulthood can be difficult, and students need tools to navigate this transition successfully and deal with considerable stresses, which often include pressures arising from economic hardship.  As a student entering university or college for the first time, you will experience unprecedented freedom and opportunity. But you will also be burdened with more responsibility than you previously carried.  Both the pleasures of freedom and the pressures of responsibility can impact on your health and wellness, in the short term and possibly for the rest of your life,’ said Ahluwalia.

Higher Health will be focusing on seven priority areas particularly pertinent to young people engaged in challenging processes of personal, intellectual and professional development: Gender Based Violence; Mental Health; HIV/TB/Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs); Sexual Reproductive Health / Unplanned Youth and Teenage Pregnancies; Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention; LGBTQI Destigmitisation; and Disability Sensitisation.

Ahluwalia said: ‘We urge you, our students to take care of your health and wellness by first finding out where to access your campus health and wellness programme and to participate in activities and programmes that are available at your campuses.’ He added that the activities include:

  • Second curriculum peer to peer education training, dialogues, debates, forum discussions, etc., that occur routinely at each campus;
  • Self-assessment and screening to assess their risk of GBV/mental health issues/ HIV/TB/STIs and unplanned pregnancies;
  • Listening to the health and wellness shows aired on campus and community radio stations, via the HIGHER HEALTH Future Beats programme;
  • Participating in HIGHER HEALTH First Things First Activations – where screening and testing services come to campuses for easy access. Testing, screening, and counselling are offered as well as linkage to care for HIV/TB/STIs, unplanned pregnancies, and non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as counselling and support for GBV and mental health issues;
  • Routine testing and screening services, treatment, care and support through campus clinics, mobile services or Campus Health and Wellness Co-ordinators.

For more information regarding the seven priority areas, click on this link.

Words by: Sithembile ShabanguS