October health focus

These awareness days in October help us learn about and take action to assist those in need
By Tamlyn Vincent

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in South Africa. This month focuses on awareness of this disease and encourages women to do regular self-examinations and mammograms, which can lead to early detection and a better prognosis.
The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa): 0800 226 622 or cansa.org.za
Pink Drive: They have a selection of pink ribbon and other merchandise online. Contact: 021 418 0548 or pinkdrive.co.za
Reach 4 Recovery: 079 462 3973 or reach4recovery.org.za
Eye Care Awareness Month
Eye health, particularly the prevention of avoidable blindness, is highlighted during Eye Care Awareness month and on World Sight Day, 13 October. South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB): 012 452 3811 or sancb.org.za
Orbis: 021 447 7135 or orbis.org.za
Retina South Africa: 086 059 5959 or retinasa.org.za 
Global ADHD Awareness Month
Creating awareness around ADHD helps to educate people and encourages the development of resources as people work towards finding solutions. Adhasa: 011 888 7655 or adhasa.co.za
ADHD and Dyslexia support group: Facebook: Familyzone Learning 
International Dyslexia Awareness Month
October highlights the difficulties that come with dyslexia, from children being stereotyped to facing challenges in the classroom.
The Red Apple Dyslexia Association (RADA): They have programmes and activities to help children. Contact: 016 454 0281 or dyslexiasa.org 
Mental Health Awareness Month
Awareness around mental health improves education, while helping to decrease the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health issues.
South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag): 011 234 4837, suicidal emergency contact: 0800 567 567 or sadag.org
3–7 October
OT Week
This week showcases how occupational therapy can help people of all ages in their day-to-day lives. The International Occupational Therapy Day, 27 October, promotes the importance of OT.
Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (Otasa): 012 362 5457 or otasa.org.za
8 October
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
Today is about celebrating and supporting hospice and palliative care. The theme for 2016 is “Living and dying in pain: It doesn’t have to happen”.
Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA): Purchase a R20 temporary butterfly tattoo for the Social Butterfly campaign, available at various Primi Piatti outlets and from HPCA. Contact: 021 531 0277 or hpca.co.za
9–15 October
National Nutrition Week
The emphasis this week is on healthy eating to improve long-term health of South Africans, through nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
The Nutrition Society of South Africa (NSSA): nssa@mweb.co.za or nutritionsociety.co.za
15–19 October
National Obesity Week
Being overweight or obese puts you at risk of chronic disease. This week creates awareness around these risks and encourages healthier living. Overeaters Anonymous: 011 640 2901 or oa.org.za
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa: 021 422 1586 or heartfoundation.co.za
15 October
Global Handwashing Day
This day promotes the idea that washing hands with soap is an easy, affordable way to effectively prevent the spreading of disease. The theme this year is “Make Handwashing a Habit!”
Global Handwashing: globalhandwashing.org  
15 October
National Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day
Awareness around the risk of drinking during pregnancy can help in preventing Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disease. While this condition is preventable, it can’t be cured. Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (Farr): 021 686 2646 or farrsa.org.za South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca): 086 147 2622 or sancanational.info 
20 October
National Down Syndrome Day
Geared towards creating awareness around Down syndrome, this day is about informing people of the condition, and encouraging acceptance and inclusivity.
Down Syndrome South Africa (DSSA): 0861 369 672 or downsyndrome.org.za

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