Health pioneers win awards

South African women continue to make strides in their attempts to find health care solutions in needy communities. Two women doctors from two South African provinces won this year’€™s Shoprite Checkers/SABC2 Woman of the Year Awards for their dedication to the communities they serve.

Professor Lynette Denny, a gynaecologist and cancer specialist at the Khayelitsha Cervical Cancer Clinic, won the Science and Technology Award while Dr Laetitia Rispel, Head of the Department of Health in Gauteng, won the Health Category.

Professor Denny’€™s innovative cervical cancer screening initiative has saved about 12 000 women in Khayelitsha from dying of cervical cancer, a preventable disease. She started the clinic with a small group of women who were originally too afraid to tell their families about their illness. Not only were they treated but began to encourage men to accompany their wives and spouses to the clinic. Prof Denny says her greatest wish is that poverty be addressed and that men become more involved in women’€™s health. Dr Rispel says women bear the brunt of violence, suffer from gender discrimination and die of preventable diseases.

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