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WhizzKids United Health Academy Opens in Edendale

Published by Oli Walsh
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The WhizzKids United programme promotes and sustains healthy behaviour change amongst youth through three main interventions: Life Skills, Peer Education and WhizzKids United Health Academies.

The WKU Health Academies are the long term source of support, reaching an exclusively adolescent population, providing a full range of professional health and counselling services.

The first of its kind in South Africa Ė the WKU Health Academy opened today on the 1st June 2010. It will provide instruction and support to youth through fun, accessible, and relevant activities. These activities include counselling; HIV testing; HCT; HIV drug treatment, HAART; treatment and management of sexually transmitted diseases, STIís; rape counselling; career guidance; support for orphans and vulnerable children, OVCís; 5-a-side all weather football pitch; computer suite and much more.

The Edendale community has been the staging post for the development of WhizzKids United since 2005 and was selected because of the high prevalence of HIV and also the attraction for Africaid to partner with Edendale Hospital, EDH, and the KZN DoH due to its dedicated approach and commitment to addressing the challenges of HIV.

There was a welcome by Edendale hospital CEO, Mrs. ZSI Ndwandwe and the purpose for the day was set out by Africaid CEO Marcus McGilvray, who had the vision to create and implement the Health Academy concept. There were further messages of support by the Victor Daitz Foundation, Ms. Z Khumalo, Mr. M. Green from Umgungundlovu Health District and Mr. J Singh from Umsunduzi Youth advisory Centre was the key note speaker as well as the cutting of the ribbon and unveiling of the plaque.

The opening centred on youth, as they are the focus of the centre and the best speech came from WKU graduates, who talked about their experiences of the programme and how it has helped them through life. The choir from Mthethomusha Primary school, one of the first schools the WKU operated in, had 60 of their of choir all dressed in football kit singing their hearts out, while a further 40 performed a traditional Zulu dance!

The Academy is sponsored by Abbott, the Victor Daitz Foundation, Life Channel and Meal a Day. WKU are also working with partner organisations, One Voice, Shaping the Future and AMREF to provide truly holistic support for our youth in 2010 and beyond.
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