Government will embark on a nation-wide multi-pronged health communication campaign to promote healthy lifestyles amongst all South Africans, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Sunday.

Leading a briefing of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster, the Minister said this would help government achieve targets set in the National Development Plan to ensure that citizens take steps to live healthy lifestyles.

“This campaign, Phila (Zulu for “be healthy”), will seek to communicate health issues holistically as opposed to concentrating on a single pandemic.

“The Minister of Health (Aaron Motsoaledi) will, in the near future, launch this campaign to empower and encourage an individual to take specific steps to prevent, care for, or treat health issues that threaten South Africa’s health in general,” she said.

Motshekga said during the month of October, the Social sector cluster departments will embark on healthy and safer lifestyles awareness campaigns.

This will include:

National Recreation day, where the nation will be mobilized around active lifestyles and the benefits thereof;

o The nutrition and obesity weeks;

o Transport month, focusing on injury, violence and trauma, especially on our roads; and

o Social development Month, which will also prioritise anti-substance abuse issues.

She said government has made major progress towards attaining the outcome of a long and healthy life for all South Africans.

“This was achieved through the successful implementation of interventions to reduce maternal, child and infant mortality and successful management of the major communicable diseases facing the country, including HIV and Aids,” she said.

According to Statistics South Africa’s Midyear Population Estimates Report, released in August 2016, the overall life expectancy at birth of South Africans is 62.4 years in 2016, compared to 56.4 years in 2009.

The Minister said major limitations in the performance of the health sector includes, amongst others, a lack of progress towards all targets focusing on the improvement of quality of health care in the public sector. She said this includes the inability to conduct patient satisfaction surveys, which assess their experiences of care in public sector health services.

The Minister also said another challenge was the low progress in the prevention and management of Tuberculosis (TB).

The Minister, meanwhile, thanked Team SA for their role in uniting the country around shared and common love for sport, and for continuously reminding citizens that they are a rainbow nation.

She said 794 talented athletes were supported by sports academies across South Africa and 68 elite athletes were supported through a scientific support programme in preparation for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“This investment yielded positive results in both events and united the nation behind Team SA.

“In addition, participation opportunities were provided to 20 250 community members at various sport and recreation events,” she said.