New venue for women’s health centre

Marisa van der Spuy and Malika Patel cut the ribbon to open the centre.

After operating for 26 years in Bree Street, Marie Stopes South Africa has moved into its brand-new centre at Rondebosch Medical Centre, which forms part of their vision to make abortion care easily accessible in the mainstream medical facilities.

At the official opening on Wednesday May 15, director Blum Khan said they had started working on a new concept for the centre after a visit to London, and wanted something that women, especially the younger generation, could identify with.

He said a centre such as this had never been opened in a retail space or private hospital, making it a first for the international organisation.

“I am pleased to be part of this, and proud of the team who helped to make this a reality. I believe that this could be a premier reproductive health care programme and service for the women of South Africa.”

Mr Khan said they planned to open more centres in various parts of the country.

They also unveiled a blue ribbon, which forms part of their #MyBodyMyChoicecampaign, aimed at raising awareness around the legalities of safe abortion care in the country.

“This is something that every woman has a right to; they should be able to walk into any clinic to get access to the service or be directed as to where they could go,” said Marie Stopes spokeswoman, Whitney Chinogwenya.

Established in 1993 Marie Stopes South Africa is the country’s largest non-profit provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare services, with 14 centres across seven provinces, and it is a Section 21 non-profit organisation.

Ms Chinogwenya said they seek to impact the quality of life in South Africa by decreasing maternal and infant mortality, averting unsafe and illegal abortions, decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies through contraceptive uptake, reducing the impact of HIV, STIs and cervical cancer, and expanding their services whenever and wherever possible.

“Our team is passionately pro-choice. At Marie Stopes South Africa, pro-choice refers not only to reproductive freedom and the right to a safe abortion but also the choice of when and with whom to have sex, regardless of sexual orientation,” she said.

Their services include safe abortions, short- and long-acting contraceptives, emergency contraception, pregnancy tests and scans, pap smears/cervical cancer screening, women’s wellness exams, HIV counselling and testing and vasectomies.

Ms Chinogwenya said the centre was staffed by compassionate and highly-trained medical professionals who don’t question, or pass judgement about, their patient’s choices or try to sway their decision, but are simply there to provide quality, safe, affordable women’s health services.

“Our mission is to help women and couples to have children by choice, not chance. Our vision is for every birth to be a wanted birth. We’re here for you, always,” she said.