SA military medics kick off first prestige week

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Today (Tuesday, 28 November) marks day one of the first-ever SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) Prestige Week with Surgeon General Lieutenant General Peter Maphaha the parade review officer at Pretoria Military Sports Club (PMSC).

The Thaba Tshwane venue is one of a number in and around South Africa’s unofficial military capital where the men and women whose ruby red beret and cap badges carry the rod of Asclepius, the mythical Greek god of medicine, with a single entwined serpent, will put best feet forward in tribute to their service. Showing what they’re trained for and the equipment at their disposal will be military medics. Also strutting their stuff will be the personnel of 7 Medical Battalion Group, considered the elite unit in the military health service.

Next up for Maphaha’s men and women is participation in sports with aerobics, volleyball, netball and mini soccer named in a statement. Golf is also on the sports menu with a Surgeon General charity golf day at Pebble Rock Golf and Country Club near Roodeplaat Dam. Funds raised will go to the SANDF SA National Defence Force) Education Trust, child oncology and rehabilitation wards in military hospitals.

While the golfers come to terms with the bushveld layout, SAMHS social workers will reach out to the impoverished and distressed community at Potters House, Burgers Park Lane north of the Pretoria CBD. They will donate essential items ranging from foodstuff, sanitary and recreational equipment for women and children affected by gender-based violence (GBV) temporarily in this residence.

On a sombre note, Maphaha and the SAMHS Command Council will lay wreaths in honour of “fallen heroes and heroines” who died in the line of duty at 1 Military Hospital. The wreath laying is scheduled to be followed by a thanksgiving service led by chaplains at the nearby Military Health Training Formation auditorium.

Highlight of the week is the corporate awards evening on Thursday at the CSIR International Convention Centre. Those who “distinguished themselves and excelled in proving comprehensive military health service to SANDF members, their dependants, other government officials and statesmen for remarkable diligence exercised throughout the year nationally and in the region” will be honoured, recognised and awarded.

SAMHS prestige week finishes on Friday, 1 December, by way of social responsibility programmes and community involvement health programmes such as World AIDS Day and GBV, and “other festivities” at the PMSC venue where the Surgeon General launched the prestige week for his service.