GOLDEN GATE CHALLENGE

Running for Office

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Dr Sibongiseni
Dhlomo is a man of action. This is clear from the word go when requesting an
interview with the man who runs the state of health affairs in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Not an easy task for
anyone, as KZN is the province with the highest HIV prevalence in the country. But
in spite of the busyness that inevitably goes with the job, Dr Dhlomo responds
the same day to a request for an interview and within days the interview is
done and dusted!

 

GETTING IT DONE

The budget
for health in KZN could be reduced by far and the money rather used elsewhere
if he could convince everyone in KZN about the the value of exercise, says Dr
Dhlomo, a passionate athlete and advocate for raising the quality of lives of
ordinary people in KZN. In the past, he has continually
referred to a study done in United
States which claims that for every R1 spent
on the promotion of physical activity, there is a saving of R100 in medical
expenditure on non-communicable diseases.

 

Health and
sport have been a way of life for him throughout his life and career. He
excelled in the field of medicine at the University of Natal before pursuing
further studies in psychology and sociology, as well as attaining post-graduate
accolades in public health and strategic and project management. He has practised
as a medical practitioner, owned his own medical practice, served as an
academic at the University
of KwaZulu-Natal and
implemented various successful health projects.

 

“My
proudest moments in the field of medicine were seeing patients that had lost
hope, recovering, and seeing relatives of patients appreciate the help we gave
them. As MEC some of my proudest moments include running a successful male
medical circumcision campaign and seeing the KZN Department of Health reducing the
mother-to-child transmission of HIV from 21% to less than 3% in 2011.”

 

PRACTISE WHAT YOU PREACH

He is a
firm believer in the important of exercise, not only to reach individual
sporting goals, but most importantly because of the health benefits it brings.
“Not only does one delay the onset of non-communicable disease such as
hypertension, diabetes, cancers and arthritis, but if you already have these
diseases, you can reduce the treatment thereof because your body starts
rejuvenating itself through exercise.”

 

Dr Dhlomo is a man who likes a challenge and last year he
took on his very first Comrades Marathon after a businessman
in Newcastle dared him, saying that if he did so
he would donate a science laboratory to Sekusile
High School in Newcastle. Dr Dhlomo took on the challenge,
and also decided that he would run his very first Comrades in aid of charity.
He
finished in 12:20 and did not make the cut-off, but the science laboratory was still
donated to the school and all four chosen charity projects received moneys
raised.

 

Dr Dhlomo
is a proud member of Phuma Nathi Athletic Club and is up at 5am every morning
to fit his run in. “I only train once a day, in the morning, but I make sure I
do it regularly. It keeps me stress- and disease-free, fit, and very
importantly, helps me to concentrate on my work. I am determined to go back to
Comrades this year and am hoping to make it!”

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