Our Clinic Staff

On Average, we see about 40 patients a day in our clinc at Zandspruit.

The Clinic

Patients can schedule appointments to limit their waiting time.

Educating Patients

Calsses are held daily to assist our patients in achieving healthier lifestyles.

Our Community Garden

Ladies within the community tend to our gardens. The produce is sold to local businesses.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Educating Our Patients


Over the past two months, the HOPE Centre has been focusing on educating patients about diabetes and/or hypertension.



Portia Zulu and her team of Peer Educators discuss the work they've been doing.  As Health Education Manager, Portia equips the team to educate others by passing on her expertise in nutrition and health. 
Portia | Health Education Manager

Currently, the Education Team is implementing a program, 5 Steps to Self Care, that equips patients with knowledge about their health and stresses the importance of knowing their numbers. 

"The program answers questions such as: What is hypertension?  What are high numbers?  What are low numbers?  And what are the warning signs I should look out for?" Portia explains.  "It also teaches people what they should and shouldn't eat."

The 5 Steps to Self Care walks patients through basic understanding of diabetes and hypertension, nutrition, as well as exercise.  Overall, the course is 25 sessions and includes hands-on lessons like cooking demonstrations and exercise classes.   

"We haven't decided for sure, but we are thinking we'll hold Zumba classes for the exercise portion of the program," Portia says.

Another program sponsored by one of our partners, Lily, is Conversation Maps.  Intended to get patients talking and asking questions, Conversation Maps highlights common lifestyle choices and how these decisions affect diabetics.  Topics such as portion control, proper exercise, and myths surrounding diabetes are discussed.  Portia explains some of the ways that a patient's culture may affect his lifestyle choices.  For example, large family gatherings with plenty of unhealthy foods are common, and a patient may feel obligated to partake.  She also explains that providing people with accurate information about diabetes is essential.  When a patient begins feeling the negative effects of diabetes, she may visit a traditional healer instead of seeking medical attention, which can lead to ineffective treatment or no treatment at all. 
Portia shows off the program, Conversation Maps

But these programs alone are not enough.  A motivated and educated team is required to bring this valuable information to our patients.  Portia and team of three Peer Educators work to bridge that gap and to make this information applicable and easy to understand. 

Xolelwa | Peer Educator
Xolelwa teaches two classes every week -- one for the HOPE staff and one for community members.  Even though her community class is just starting up the 5 Steps to Self Care, she sees that the students are eager to learn and contribute. 


Jeff | Peer Educator
Jeff also has two classes, and is excited to report that his class of community members has an attendance of 80%.   Jeff recognizes the hard work of his students.  "One of the ladies that attends is beginning to pay attention to what she eats.  While at a big family event, she chose healthy foods," he says.

Donation | Peer Educator
Donation's two community classes are also thriving.  "They ask many questions and even want to invite friends," he says.  One of Donation's classes is held on Saturdays.  The team explains that patients will often have jobs that keep them from attending during the week.   

The members of the Education Team are diverse, come from various backgrounds, and speak different languages.   They explain that this comes in handy while teaching the classes, as English is not the first language of many of their students.

Flexible and motivated, this power team is determined to educate the HOPE patients and push them towards healthier lifestyles.


But their work doesn't stop there.  They are also to determined to practice what they preach.  Going through the 5 Steps of Self Care themselves, the team is implementing healthier choices in their own lives.

As of now, there are 90 people participating the 5 Steps to Self Care program, and the team expect numbers to continue to grow.  

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tending to our Gardeners

Our community gardens have been very successful this year as we have both increased participation and also more closely integrated the community garden in Zandspruit, which we call the Kopano Garden Project, with the rest of The HOPE Centre. After our gardening participants received training from the Northcliff Rotary and JAM (Joint Aid Management, Int’l) earlier this year, the garden took off and attracted the attention of both our patients and a local restaurant. As a result, gardeners recently began selling part of the produce from the garden to patients which both gives patients access to affordable healthy vegetables and also generates income for our gardeners which they save through our VSL program. Similarly, gardeners will begin selling produce to the local restaurant later this year.  

However, 26 June was a particularly special day in Zandspruit as we went beyond caring for the health and growth of our vegetables and concentrated on the health and personal growth of our gardeners.
Testing of our gardeners for diabetes and blood pressure.
With the help of Refilwe and Lebo from our community outreach and programs team, we arranged for Portia Zulu, the newest member of Project HOPE South Africa, to address the group. Portia is a professional nutritionist/dietitian and succeeded in involving the group in a lively discussion about healthy eating patterns and fitness. Diabetes and blood pressure tests were done and the group will now partake in an 8 month health and fitness programme and then be retested. Around 95% of the group suffers from high blood pressure, and this intervention will contribute greatly to the general well-being of our gardeners.

A very special thanks to Refilwe who has been the backbone of our gardening project and communicator par excellence. Her leadership qualities has contributed greatly to the success of this project.
Refilwe in action!


The team from Project HOPE were presented with bunches of freshly picked spinach from the Kopano gardens as a token of thanks for their support.

Portia Zulu gets her 'thank you' bunch
 Emily and Tiny from Kopano thanking Project Hope Peer Educator, Molly



Thursday, 26 June 2014

The HOPE Team gets Creative


The stats regarding the prevalence of hypertension in South Africa are scary, to say the least:
"New research reveals that South Africa has the highest rate of high blood pressure reported among people aged 50 and over for any country in the world, at any time in history."
"78% of those who took part in South Africa tested positive for high blood pressure, or hypertension. Less than one in 10 people were effectively controlling their condition with medication."
- A Study Conducted by University of East Anglia (read the full study here)
Part of our mission is to change those stats, and we're willing to do whatever it takes to raise awareness about hypertension, even if it means being a little silly.
Celebrating World Hypertension Day
Along with Monash University and Rose Star Nursing school, we celebrated World Hypertension Day on the 17th of May 2014 by conducting an awareness campaign in the Community of Zandspruit. Three screening stations were set up. 
Setting up the Screening Stations

After the screenings, we discussed the health risks associated with diabetes and hypertension with community members. Each person received a piece of fruit for participating.
One of Three Screening Stations

What would a celebration be without a little dancing? To draw attention to the screening stations and make sure everyone knew what we were up to, the team organized a flash mob dance!
Some of the Flash Mob Dancers

(learn more about World Hypertension Day at the International Society of Hypertension)
 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Helping Patients to understand their Conditions

Here below is a wonderful post from our own Lindelwa Myali, the Patient Liaison Officer at the HOPE Center Clinic in Zandspruit South Africa and a testimony to the great job she does from one of our patients.
 
Hi I’m Lindelwa Myali, the Patient Liaison Officer. I joined Project HOPE in September 2012. I am certified in HIV testing and counselling but have been working in the area of diabetes and hypertension since I joined Project HOPE. I am based at the clinic and I provide two types of services to my patients: 
1. Patient education:
I give patient education to all patients who come to the clinic. For lifestyle changes for diabetic and hypertensive patients,  I hand out the “Dietary Guildelines” sheet which we have in several languages.  To them my main message is “I know that we are poor here in the township but please try to eat at least two fruits and two vegetables per day”.   Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and stay away from sugar and salt as much as possible.  Take your medication as I tell you and I can assure you your glucose and blood pressure levels will decrease significantly.
2. Treatment and adherence:
I  give patients information about the medication that they are taking with guidance from our medication information pamphlets.  I present each patient with a pamphlet  and together we discuss it. I repeat the same exercise twice or even thrice to some patients when they come back to the clinic for the regular check-ups.  I only release the patient when I am 100% satisfied that they are fully compliant.  I keep a register of all my patients so I am able to track when I see them. A newly referred patient was taking medication for two years but had no idea why she was taking it.
I really like these forms that Project HOPE has done as it brings structure to my role and has raised my confidence in dealing with patients and I am hoping that we can get these all translated now into local languages.
Patient Testimony




"Hi, I am Gladys Ngcobo.  I am both diabetic and hypertensive.  I first came here in December 2012. My  blood pressure was 138/80 and now it is 123/72. I love this clinic, can you see that my appointment finished long ago but I am still hanging around here.  The staff treat us with respect.  Everyone has a smiling face and they make us feel welcome.  I love Lindelwa and the work that she is doing.  She explains everything so well to me and when I don’t understand, I ask her again and again! Before I came here, I did not know what it is like to be treated well in a clinic. I love these sheets that Lindelwa gives me.  I read them every morning before I take my medication. I also like the fact that we get appointment cards.  I will never leave this Project HOPE clinic."

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Reflecting on the Past Year


Looking back over the past year, it has been amazing to look at the road well-travelled that Project HOPE South Africa has been on. Our clinic celebrated its one year anniversary this month and has gone through some remarkable changes. What we were doing, whilst so good a year ago seems so amateur compared how we run the clinic now!
As I reflect back, it makes me so proud to see how our staff have learnt new skills with limited education and no previous background in working in a clinic. We now have a team that can take blood pressures, run state of the art laboratory equipment to analyze blood results, provide counseling to patients on the various medications that they are taking, manage a pharmacy. The list goes on and on.
Not only that but our list of services is slowly but steadily increasing as our reputation increases. We manage the governments’ case load of diabetic and hypertensive patients in the community. We are able to treat them for all their minor ailments, provide HIV and TB testing, and have recently expanded to provide cervical cancer and prostate screening as well as expanding our family planning services.
On the community side of the program over 7,500 community members in Zandspruit have been screened for diabetes and hypertension. Project HOPE is visible in the community. The word is getting out there and more and more people are turning to us for their health care needs. Challenges still remain. Diabetes and hypertension has not gotten the press that HIV did and many people do not view these diseases as serious, at least not at the beginning when the signs and symptoms as few. We are working hard over the coming months with focus groups to analyze our communications strategy to make sure that we communicate the correct message to the community.
For me it has been an amazing personal journey. Starting this project from the back of my house with an idea, to trying to conceptualize it, and then make it a reality, whilst extremely frustrating and high stress at times, has been totally worth the effort.
So its both sad and exciting for me at the same time to let you know that I have now left South Africa and am starting a similar journey of discovery in the US which I will be no doubt be blogging about.
We have found a wonderful replacement for me here, and the new person will be introduced shortly and will start most likely towards the end of the year. The team appreciates your continued support. Keep checking back and seeing how the program unfolds over the coming months and years. I certainly will be! - Stefan