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Protect your child from certain cancers later in life with HPV vaccine at age 11–12 years.

When should my child get HPV vaccine?

Dose #1

11–12 years (can start at age 9)

Dose #2

6–12 months after the first dose


Children ages 11–12 years should get two doses of HPV vaccine, given 6 to 12 months apart. HPV vaccines can be given starting at age 9 years.

Children who start the HPV vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses, given over 6 months. If your teen isn’t vaccinated yet, talk to their doctor about doing so as soon as possible.

Early protection works best. That’s why HPV vaccine is recommended earlier rather than later. It protects your child long before they ever have contact with the virus.

Teens and young adults should be vaccinated too. Everyone through age 26 years should get HPV vaccine if they were not fully vaccinated already.

HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years.

  • Some adults age 27 through 45 years who were not already vaccinated might choose to get HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and possible benefits of vaccination for them.
  • HPV vaccination of adults provides less benefit, because more people in this age range were exposed to HPV already.

HPV vaccination is preventing cancer-causing infections and precancers. HPV infections and cervical precancers (abnormal cells on the cervix that can lead to cancer) have dropped since 2006, when HPV vaccines were first used in the United States.

  • Among teen girls, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 88 percent.
  • Among young adult women, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 81 percent.
  • Among vaccinated women, the percentage of cervical precancers caused by the HPV types most often linked to cervical cancer has dropped by 40 percent.

HPV vaccination is very safe.

Over 15 years of monitoring have shown that HPV vaccines are very safe and effective. Like all vaccines, scientists continue to monitor HPV vaccines to ensure they are safe and effective.

Possible side effects

Like any vaccine or medicine, HPV vaccines can have side effects. The most common side effects are mild and include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given
  • Dizziness or fainting (fainting after any vaccination, including HPV vaccine, is more common among adolescents)
  • Nausea
  • Headache

The benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh the risk of potential side effects.

To prevent fainting and injuries from fainting, adolescents should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after getting the shot.

Reasons to Get HPV Vaccine

All children ages 11–12-years should get HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections.

85% of people will get an HPV infection in their lifetime.

Almost every unvaccinated person who is sexually active will get HPV at some time in their life. About 13 million Americans, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. Most HPV infections will go away on their own. But infections that don’t go away can cause certain types of cancer. HPV vaccination works.

HPV infections, genital warts, and cervical precancers (abnormal cells on the cervix that can lead to cancer) have dropped since the vaccine has been in use in the United States.

  • Infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 88% among teen girls and 81% among young adult women.
  • Among vaccinated women, the percentage of cervical precancers caused by the HPV types most often linked to cervical cancer have dropped by 40 percent.

HPV vaccination is cancer prevention.

HPV is estimated to cause nearly 36,000 cases of cancer in men and women every year in the United States. HPV vaccination can prevent 33,000 of these cancers by preventing the infections that cause them. That’s the same as the average attendance for a baseball game.

Preventing cancer is better than treating it.

HPV can cause several kinds of cancer. Only cervical cancer can be detected early a screening test. The other cancers caused by HPV may not be detected until they are more serious. HPV vaccination prevents infections that cause these cancers.

Early protection works best.

Most children only need two doses of HPV vaccine when vaccinated before age 15 years. You can take advantage of any visit to your child’s doctor to get recommended vaccines for your child:

  • Annual check-up’s
  • Sports physicals
  • Annual flu shot or other vaccine visits

HPV vaccination provides safe, effective, and long-lasting protection.




World Suicide Prevention Day 2023

10 September

World Suicide Prevention Day is commemorated on 10 September to promote worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. On average, almost 3 000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.

About one million people commit suicide each year. Every 40 seconds, the loss of a person who killed themselves shatters the lives of family and friends.

For family and friends affected by suicide or attempted suicide, the emotional impact can last for many years.

Find out more about how to prevent a suicide and where to get help at:

Helpline: 0861-322-322

Helpline: 0800 21 22 23 (8am to 8pm)
Helpline: 0800 12 13 14 (8pm to 8am)
SMS 31393

Other South African suicide hotlines

More about suicide prevention
International Association for Suicide Prevention

Event Category:


We all experience stress. It’s part of life. But too much stress can contribute to poor health, increasing our blood pressure and damaging our kidneys. By learning how stress impacts our health and finding ways to manage it, we can keep our kidneys healthier and live a healthier life overall.

What is stress?
Stress is anything that can upset or disturb your equilibrium or balance. Stress can be physiological (infection, injury, disease), or psychological (anxiety, argument, conflict, threats to personal safety or well-being). Living with a chronic illness, such as kidney disease, or learning for the first time that you have a chronic illness can be a significant source of stress.

Psychological stress is something that we contend with every day. It can be a result of positive life events, such as marriage and children, or it can come from more emotionally challenging events, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce and personal or financial problems.

Stress is normal, and your physical response to stress, including faster breathing and heart rate, a spike in blood pressure, dilated pupils, tense muscles, is a natural and normal process. The levels of fats and sugars in your blood can also increase. The body’s response to stress is commonly known as “fight or flight.” Although it is a natural process to help us survive immediate dangers, these reactions from too much or constant stress can eventually take their toll on your health.

How can stress impact my health and kidneys?
Not only does your body’s reaction to stress help you with immediate dangers or crises, it can also serve as a positive motivator while handling life’s challenges–when channeled properly. However, when your body is under high levels of stress for sustained periods of time, these physical reactions, if left unchecked, can eventually harm your health. The combined impacts of increased blood pressure, faster heart rate, and higher fats and sugar in your blood can contribute to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease (also known as cardiovascular disease).

Stress and uncontrolled reactions to stress can also lead to kidney damage. As the blood filtering units of your body, your kidneys are prone to problems with blood circulation and blood vessels. High blood pressure and high blood sugar can place an additional strain or burden on your kidneys. People with high blood pressure and diabetes are at a higher risk for kidney disease. People with kidney disease are at higher risk for heart and blood vessel disease. If you already have heart and blood vessel disease and kidney disease, then the body’s reactions to stress can become more and more dangerous. Therefore, whether your goal is to prevent heart and/or kidney disease, or improve your health while living with heart and/or kidney disease, managing stress is an important part of maintaining your overall health.

What can I do to manage my stress?
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to completely get rid of stress, or to never have any physical reactions to stress. However, there are steps you can take to manage stress and help control your body’s response to stress. Some simple ways to reduce stress include:

  • Eat healthier foods
  • Limit salt and caffeine (especially if you have high blood pressure)
  • Limit sugar (especially if you have diabetes), and fats (especially if you are at risk for heart and blood vessel disease)
  • Set aside time to relax
  • Relaxation techniques (yoga, meditation, etc.)
  • Prayer
  • Talk to a friend, loved one, spiritual leader, or healthcare professional
  • Write down your problems and think about the best solution for each of them. A list can help you evaluate and prioritize what issues need to be addressed.
  • Set realistic goals and expectations
  • Get enough sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Maintain a positive attitude and outlook
  • Vacation
  • Regular exercise and more physical activity

This list does not include all of the ways you can manage stress. Improvements in diet and more physical activity are things everyone should attempt. Talk to a healthcare professional to discuss which dietary and lifestyle changes might be best for you. Other methods to manage stress will depend on your personal preferences. You might prefer music, while someone else prefers a relaxation technique or massage. No matter the technique, managing your stress can help you feel better and live a healthier life.


Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. In muscular dystrophy, abnormal genes (mutations) interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle.

There are many kinds of muscular dystrophy. Symptoms of the most common variety begin in childhood, mostly in boys. Other types do not surface until adulthood.

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy. But medications and therapy can help manage symptoms and slow the course of the disease.


The main sign of muscular dystrophy is progressive muscle weakness. Specific signs and symptoms begin at different ages and in different muscle groups, depending on the type of muscular dystrophy.

Duchenne type muscular dystrophy

This is the most common form. Although girls can be carriers and mildly affected, it is much more common in boys.

Signs and symptoms, which typically appear in early childhood, might include:

  • Frequent falls
  • Difficulty rising from a lying or sitting position
  • Trouble running and jumping
  • Waddling gait
  • Walking on the toes
  • Large calf muscles
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Learning disabilities
  • Delayed growth


Becker muscular dystrophy

Signs and symptoms are similar to those of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but tend to be milder and progress more slowly. Symptoms generally begin in the teens but might not occur until the mid-20s or later.

Other types of muscular dystrophy

Some types of muscular dystrophy are defined by a specific feature or by where in the body symptoms begin. Examples include:

  • This is characterized by an inability to relax muscles following contractions. Facial and neck muscles are usually the first to be affected. People with this form typically have long, thin faces; drooping eyelids; and swanlike necks.
  • Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD).Muscle weakness typically begins in the face, hip and shoulders. The shoulder blades might stick out like wings when arms are raised. Onset usually occurs in the teenage years but can begin in childhood or as late as age 50.
  • This type affects boys and girls and is apparent at birth or before age 2. Some forms progress slowly and cause only mild disability, while others progress rapidly and cause severe impairment.
  • Limb-girdle. Hip and shoulder muscles are usually affected first. People with this type of muscular dystrophy might have difficulty lifting the front part of the foot and so might trip frequently. Onset usually begins in childhood or the teenage years.

When to see a doctor

Seek medical advice if you notice signs of muscle weakness — such as increased clumsiness and falling — in you or your child.


The Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa:


The ODF is the national umbrella body for the promotion of organ and tissue donation. We actively plan and implement education and publicity programmes that are designed to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation with the aim being to prime individuals towards consent.

The ODF is not a medical organization and plays no role in the allocation, or procurement, of organs. We receive no funding from government and rely entirely on our own fundraising initiatives and generous donations from corporates and individuals to support our work.

The Foundation has two main focuses:

  • To raise awareness amongst the entire South African population about the need for, and the benefits of, organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
  • To educate medical professionals, in both the public and private sector, about the transplantation process. We aim to motivate medical personnel to consider organ and tissue donation when assessing brain-dead patients and help achieve a more efficient referral system, so that more life-saving organ transplants and more life restoring tissue transplants will be performed in South Africa.

We also administer an Emergency Flight Plan, which pays for the transportation of vital organs from outlying areas to transplant hospitals if sponsored flights and/or funding is available to do so.

Aims and Objectives of the Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa

As a non-profit organization and subject to the provisions of the National Health Act, No. 61 of 2003, our objectives are as follows:

The primary objective is to promote awareness of life-saving solid organ transplants. The secondary objective is to promote awareness of tissue and life-enhancing transplants. The ODF’s objective is not to be responsible for, or directly involved in any medical-related processes, treatments, organ procurement or organ allocation.

In fulfilling its objectives, the ODF has the following aims (without limitation):

  • to educate the public about organ and tissue donation;
  • to engender a greater willingness amongst members of the public to donate their organs and tissue;
  • to significantly increase the number of members of the public registered as organ and tissue donors with the ODF, and to record these registered organ / tissue donors on an easily accessible registry/database which will be used as a means of measuring the success of organ and tissue donor awareness drives;
  • to assist medical professionals and stakeholders responsible for donor identification by helping with financial assistance towards organ donor and tissue referral programmes and workshops, such assistance shall be provided at the Board’s sole discretion and only if it is financially viable for the ODF to do so;
  • where possible, the Board, acting in its sole discretion, shall assist in advocating the challenges of organ transport and delivery and to increase the number of possible transport and delivery incidences that are required, and to do all such things as are consistent with the afore going objectives and aims.

How to contact them:

Our office hours are 9am – 4pm, Monday to Friday.

We are closed over the weekend, but if you have an emergency, please refer to the emergency number.

Tel: 0800 22 66 11 (toll free)

082 318 4376

Please use this number if you are calling in connection with a potential organ or tissue donor after hours (4pm). You will then be put in touch with the correct transplant coordinator or tissue bank in your area.

PLEASE NOTE: The Organ Donor Foundation head office is in Cape Town. We send all our information and organ donor packs from the head office.

FOR ALL QUERIES FROM ALL REGIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA: Including queries on organ donation, media queries, queries regarding awareness talks or wellness days, to become a volunteer or regarding upcoming events, etc., please contact our toll-free number or email


World Heart Rhythm Week 2022

June 7 – June 13

World Heart Rhythm Week is an annual event.  This is organised by the Arrhythmia Alliance, a coalition of patients, charities and professionals who work together to promote effective diagnosis and treatment of heart arrhythmia (a disorder affecting the rhythm of the heartbeat). The aim of World Heart Rhythm Week is to raise awareness of the symptoms of heart arrhythmia in both the general public and medical profession.


A heart arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. Heart rhythm problems occur when the electrical signals that coordinate the heart’s beats do not work properly. The faulty signaling causes the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or irregularly.




Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.

Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms.

There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.


Myelin damage and the nervous system

Multiple sclerosis signs and symptoms may differ greatly from person to person and over the course of the disease depending on the location of affected nerve fibers. Symptoms often affect movement, such as:

  • Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or your legs and trunk
  • Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
  • Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait

Vision problems are also common, including:

  • Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
  • Prolonged double vision
  • Blurry vision

Multiple sclerosis symptoms may also include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling or pain in parts of your body
  • Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function

Disease course

Most people with MS have a relapsing-remitting disease course. They experience periods of new symptoms or relapses that develop over days or weeks and usually improve partially or completely. These relapses are followed by quiet periods of disease remission that can last months or even years.

Small increases in body temperature can temporarily worsen signs and symptoms of MS, but these aren’t considered true disease relapses.

At least 50% of those with relapsing-remitting MS eventually develop a steady progression of symptoms, with or without periods of remission, within 10 to 20 years from disease onset. This is known as secondary-progressive MS.

The worsening of symptoms usually includes problems with mobility and gait. The rate of disease progression varies greatly among people with secondary-progressive MS.

Some people with MS experience a gradual onset and steady progression of signs and symptoms without any relapses, known as primary-progressive MS.


The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown. It’s considered an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. In the case of MS, this immune system malfunction destroys the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord (myelin).

Myelin can be compared to the insulation coating on electrical wires. When the protective myelin is damaged and the nerve fiber is exposed, the messages that travel along that nerve fiber may be slowed or blocked.

It isn’t clear why MS develops in some people and not others. A combination of genetics and environmental factors appears to be responsible.

Risk factors

These factors may increase your risk of developing multiple sclerosis:

  • MS can occur at any age, but onset usually occurs around 20 and 40 years of age. However, younger and older people can be affected.
  • Women are more than two to three times as likely as men are to have relapsing-remitting MS.
  • Family history.If one of your parents or siblings has had MS, you are at higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Certain infections.A variety of viruses have been linked to MS, including Epstein-Barr, the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis.
  • White people, particularly those of Northern European descent, are at highest risk of developing MS. People of Asian, African or Native American descent have the lowest risk.
  • MS is far more common in countries with temperate climates, including Canada, the northern United States, New Zealand, south-eastern Australia and Europe.
  • Vitamin D.Having low levels of vitamin D and low exposure to sunlight is associated with a greater risk of MS.
  • Certain autoimmune diseases.You have a slightly higher risk of developing MS if you have other autoimmune disorders such as thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Smokers who experience an initial event of symptoms that may signal MS are more likely than non-smokers to develop a second event that confirms relapsing-remitting MS.


People with multiple sclerosis may also develop:

  • Muscle stiffness or spasms
  • Paralysis, typically in the legs
  • Problems with bladder, bowel or sexual function
  • Mental changes, such as forgetfulness or mood swings


The Optima Psychiatric Hospital, a healing centre, situated in the Bloemfontein suburb, Hospitaalpark, accommodating 76 patients and is operated by a company consisting of nine partners, all Psychiatrists.

Contact Details

17 Addison St, Bloemfontein, 9301
Phone: 051 502 1800
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