Netcare Margate Hospital empowers learners to feel confident about their bodies

RA Engar Primary School girls educated on the importance of menstrual hygiene

Monday, October 16 2017

Learners at the RA Engar Primary School in Port Shepstone were recently visited by a gynaecologist and staff members of Netcare Margate Hospital who shared an inspirational message with the girls about the importance of standing tall and to focus on their dreams no matter what.

Pic "A gynaecologist and staff members of Netcare Margate Hospital recently visited the RA Engar Primary School in Port Shepstone to share an inspirational message with learners about the importance of standing tall and focusing on their dreams no matter what. Pictured here are some of the learners, teachers and staff members who attended, with gynaecologist Dr Shavi Govender (far right, middle row) and the school’s principal, Dr Mala Appalraju (6th from left, back row)."

Gynaecologist Dr Shavi Govender addressed the older girls about the delicate yet all-important topic of personal hygiene.
Dr Govender, who practises at Netcare Margate Hospital, says when it comes to menstruation, many girls find it embarrassing to talk about, and therefore unfortunately remain misinformed about some of the more pertinent details pertaining to the topic.  

“The aim of the visit was to educate and empower these girls through providing them with credible information and advice in an effort to debunk some of the common myths and misperceptions surrounding menstruation.

“It is absolutely vital for young girls to understand that menstruation is completely natural and merely part of the maturation process. The more information they have at hand, the more they will be empowered to make informed choices and decisions regarding their personal health and lifestyle choices,” she says.

According to Dr Govender one of the sad realities is that many girls of school going age simply do not have the means to buy the necessary sanitary products, and instead resort to either skipping school or making use of other, unhygienic alternatives.

“Some girls from disadvantaged backgrounds have a drawback throughout their teenage years and are often left feeling helpless and embarrassed, which can greatly impact their self-esteem. Most go through their periods very secretively and therefore are often not aware that some of their practices are, in fact, not hygienic and therefore not healthy. Sharing information around this was therefore one of the main aims of today’s visit,” she points out.

Part of the message conveyed in Dr Govender’s address to the learners included what sanitary products to use, and how to use and dispose of them correctly. In addition, the girls were taught the importance of changing their sanitary towels and washing regularly, particularly during their period.

Learners who attended the talk also received a pack of sanitary towels sponsored by Netcare Margate Hospital’s renal department, Lancet Laboratories, Ampath Laboratories and Global Labs.

“It’s important that people realise that menstruation is not just a women’s issue, it is a societal issue that continues to impact thousands of girls around the country every month. It is up to us as healthcare providers to step up and do what we can to break down any common misperceptions and to increase access to sanitary products in order to ensure that these young girls feel confident about themselves and their bodies,” Dr Govender concludes.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Margate Hospital.
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, Pieter Rossouw
or Alison Sharp
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] [email protected] or [email protected]