The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Department of Student Counselling and Health hosted a Sexual and Reproductive Health webinar on Thursday, 6 May 2021 via MS Teams. The webinar was held to raise awareness on good sexual and reproductive health, awareness on various methods of contraception, and discuss the various sexual health problems which existed. The aim of the webinar was to also provide attendees a better understanding on one’s reproductive body, as well as look at suitable contraceptive methods that are available.
Speaking at the webinar was Dr Mala Panday, who works as a consultant at the King Dinizulu Hospital Complex. She spoke on contraceptive choices for young couples, also spoke on the global statistics on adolescent pregnancies, and gave a better understanding on the different types of contraceptive methods that are available. She conveyed that in a study done in the United States it was found that 80% of adolescent pregnancies in the age group from 15 to 19 years, are unplanned.
“Complications of pregnancy and childbirth was the second commonest cause of death for 15 to 19-year-old girls globally. Every year about three million girls from the age of 15 to 19 had undergone unsafe abortions,” she said.
She further relayed that the motivating factors for young women to seeking contraception was that pregnancies were perceived as a negative outcome, girls were now more mature, had experienced a pregnancy scare or had family and friends or even a clinician who sanctioned the use of contraception.
Dr Panday said that it was vital that health care workers could provide help and guidance to young women by being more approachable and skilled, ensuring confidentiality when consulting, having an open door policy, discussing all options available in terms of contraception, chatting on the issue of abstinence, as well as offering counselling to dispel myths and misconceptions.
She then spoke on the various contraceptive options such as implants, combined hormonal contraception, emergency contraception, IUDS (Intrauterine Device) which is safe to use in adolescents. She spoke on injectable contraception which is also safe, effective and offered dual contraception.
Giving more insight into cervical cancer was Health Specialist Professor Michael Herbst, who said that cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women. He said that the most important risk factor for cervical cancer is infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), relaying that there were over 100 types of HPV and not all of them were linked to cancer.
He also spoke on pap smears, a procedure whereby cells from the surface of the cervix are collected, viewed under a microscope, after staining, to find out if the cells are abnormal. He said this procedure is also called a pap test which can be done every three years.
The last speaker of the webinar was Dr Anele Gwala who focused on the various common sexual health problems such as genital warts, syphilis, candidiasis and fibroids, to name but a few.
Dr Gwala then spoke on the management process of these sexual problems which is mainly syndromic. She also relayed more on non-infectious female reproductive conditions such as endometriosis and dysmenorrhoea, which was followed by a question and answer session.
Pictured: Dr Mala Panday delivers her presentation titled: Contraceptive choices for young couples, at the webinar,