By Basetsana Makhalemele
The stigma that is unjustifiably attached to women’s reproductive health is one of the concerns that Polokwane based businesswoman, gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Portia Manamela deals with in her practice.
Manamela’s work has strong foundations in the dignity, self-esteem and sexual well-being of a woman. She concedes that much around a woman’s body is still treated as taboo.
In her practice, based at the Netcare Pholoso Hospital, in Polokwane she holds open and comfortable conversations tohelp women address and overcome fears, answer previously unanswered questions and look at ways to heal women, holistically, in their understanding of their bodies.
"I look forward to developing these areas in my practice, not only to stay the pace, but to be at the forefront in our approach," she says.
Empowering and building families
“My work not only supports my female patients, but their partners, and empowering the entire family unit through their journeys, their mental well-being is important to me" Manamela says.
She adds that this kind of support can only be achieved from a place of complete ownership and responsibility of the experience - that is where the model of a private practice works well.
It is also part of the reason why she opted to open her own practice.
However her patients have been at the forefront of her decision to run a practice that empowers families.
She says one of her greatest moment of success was when she helped a patient who had been pregnant five times previouslybut sadly lost the pregnancies.
With her help the woman was able to carry her pregnancy to full term and delivered a beautiful healthy baby.
"Her husband could not contain his emotions as he told me that he had never heard any his babies cry, to me. This to me is success. This is my purpose" she says.
Advice to women
“Women should not suffer in silence. Women should consult as soon as possible as soon as they see that there is something wrong or something they do not understand with their bodies.
As much as women’s health issues are somehow still seen as a taboo, women should not feel embarrassed and feel safe enough to know that there are people who are able and willing to help.
Let us break the silence on women’s health issues, there is help out there."