Nursing taken to business level

Nongcebo Nsibande is on a mission to change people's views about sexual reproductive health.
Nongcebo Nsibande is on a mission to change people's views about sexual reproductive health.

Nongcebo Nsibande is a young nurse on a mission to change people's views about sexual reproductive health.

Nsibande  started Milelo Reproductive Health Boutique after growing weary of seeing youth struggle with sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and HIV.

Nsibande's facility in Rivonia, Johannesburg, offers screening for HIV, STIs, contraceptives, pap smears and counselling services.

She previously worked at public hospitals and noticed a lot of people were ignorant about their sexual health.

"I realised there is really a gap and people don't understand what sexual reproductive health is about."

Young people are haunted by a high prevalence of HIV. Last week, the Human Sciences Research Council called for more intervention to be made to tackle HIV among youth at the SA Aids conference, saying there had been an estimated 231,000 new HIV infections in 2017.

Nsibande, 30, registered her business last year and started assisting patients who are too embarrassed to buy a morning-after pill at a pharmacy by delivering them at their home.

Nsibande, who originates from KwaZulu-Natal, said she also had an opportunity to work at a reproductive health centre where she dealt with women of all ages including pupils.

"I am passionate about teenagers in high schools and equipping them with the right knowledge so that they can make informed decisions," she said.

Nsibande said she realised that lack of information was not only a problem among younger girls.

She said she was shocked when she encountered a 27-year-old patient who mistook an anti-malaria drug for contraceptives.

"I want to offer people proper education. It's important for people to understand that they need to go for regular HIV screenings and that once you become sexually active you must go for pap smears.

"We had an 18-year-old die from cervical cancer where I used to work. That is scary," she said.

Nsibande said her approach to contraceptive counselling targets both men and women.

Nsibande, who grew up in Empangeni, obtained a diploma at the Ngwelezane Nursing College after matriculating. She worked at public facilities in Maritzburg and Newcastle before venturing out on her own.

Nsibande said she was inspired to go into nursing by her mother, who was also a nurse but died when she was 10 years old.

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