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.

The HOPE Centre Approach

So what's so unique about the HOPE Centre approach compared to other projects? This is a question that I have had to answer many times when presenting this project to potential donors. My answer goes something along the lines of this:

"The HOPE Centre approach is unique first and foremost, because there isn't anyone else in the country doing exactly this! Secondly, while some organisations are thinking about working in chronic disease, they are not thinking holistically. They think curative only (or in this case management) rather than preventive first, curative second."

That's what I think will make this project stand out - its integrated, holistic approach to prevent and manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease in a setting where resources are extremely limited and where people struggle to survive on a day to day basis.

The HOPE Centre will tackle chronic diseases in a number of ways:

1) Clinically - we will open a chronic care clinic that is staffed by a professional nurse, with additional help from volunteer specialists such as doctors, podiatrists, opthalmologists and pharmacists. This clinic will receive referrals from the government clinic and will serve a catchment area of over 300,000 people. People will be able to receive comprehensive screening, counselling and medication for their conditions if needed.

2) Peer Support - Arguably one of the most important factors in managing a chronic disease, or trying to modify ingrained behaviours so that you don't develop a chronic disease is support from peers who are in the same situation. Patients who have been screened by the clinic or who have been referred to us by other partners will be encouraged to join these support groups. They will meet on a weekly basis for a period of one year. During these weekly meetings Project HOPE and its partners will provide comprehensive health education, counselling, nutritional assessments, vegetable gardening and cooking classes, physical activity assessment and classes as well as continued health monitoring to make sure the disease is under control and stable. After the one year period these peer groups will "graduate" knowing how to manage their disease well, what to do if something goes wrong, and will become "change agents" in the community - being able to encourage others not too live in a way that puts them at risk of getting a chronic disease.

3) Education and Screening - we will be working with the Department of Health to provide training materials and develop screening techniques that Community Health Workers can use as they go door-to-door in the communities making people aware of diseases such as diabetes, HIV, TB etc. Project HOPE will empower these Community Health Workers to be able to act as the "first line" in preventing chronic diseases in communities by educating them on the diseases, risk factors, and then helping them to identify potential cases and allowing them to refer them to clinics so that they can be seen before its too late.

The ensure quality of the highest standards, Project HOPE will be working with the University of Witswatersrand in all phases of the project - from  determining the current chronic disease priorities through a baseline survey, developing and fine tuning the interventions including curriculum development, monitoring and evaluating of the project and publishing the results in various academic and non-academic forums.

All of this is getting me VERY excited!! I hope to update you next week with some pictures of our new clinic and of the communities that we will be working in. Thanks for reading!

Why Focus on Chronic Disease when people are dying from AIDS?

Its true, people in South Africa are dying from AIDS. South Africa has the largest number of infected people living with HIV estimated at over 5.7 million. The national prevalence rate is around 12%. Yet there is something else going on in South Africa and across the developing world that is not receiving as much attention as it should and that is the rise of Chronic Diseases. These include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases.
Lets look at some numbers to make a comparison. In 2005, over 35 million people worldwide died from chronic diseases.  It is the leading cause of death and disability and currently accounts for almost 60% of deaths and 43% of the global disease burden.  In the same year 2.8 million deaths were from HIV/AIDS worldwide. By 2020, it is estimated that chronic disease will account for 73% of all deaths.  Chronic disease is no longer a “Western problem.”  The reality is that four out of five chronic disease deaths occur in low and middle income countries.

Here are some facts about Diabetes:

- Today 300 million people worldwide have diabetes.
- 10,000 people die everyday from diabetes - that is double the amount of people dying 
   from AIDS
- In sub-Saharan Africa 12.1 million people are estimated to have diabetes, with only 15%
- By 2030 23.9 million adults in sub-Saharan Africa will have diabetes - more than the
   number of people that currently have HIV.

In South Africa, an epidemiological transition is taking place with a shift in disease burden from infectious diseases such as HIV and TB to chronic diseases.  With the change in eating patterns, and rural to urban migration, many of the new urban poor are now encountering a “double burden” of disease.  Not only do they continue to be susceptible to infectious disease, but with the availability of nutrient poor but calorically dense food, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, they are at increased risk for obesity and developing chronic diseases.
In South Africa, chronic diseases accounted for 28% of all deaths in 2002.  In 2005, a study showed 51% of men and 77% of women in South Africa were overweight, a major risk factor for chronic disease, predicted to increase over the next 10 years.  Between 1997 and 2004, 195 people died per day because of some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in South Africa.  Models suggest that by 2010 there will be over 600 deaths per day in South Africa due to chronic disease. Premature deaths caused by CVD in people of working age (35-64 years) are expected to increase by 41% between 2000 and 2030.  Diabetes in South Africa is an emerging problem particularly when prevention messaging and early detection screenings are very limited.  Many people present themselves at clinics when they are already suffering from a complication of the disease.  Access to insulin and regular blood sugar monitoring is challenging in impoverished areas.

In response to the facts, Project HOPE is taking a leading role in addressing this crisis. Since 1998 Project HOPE realised that this problem was only going to get worse and began addressing it before anyone else in providing training to healthcare professionals in China, India, Mexico, New Mexico, and now South Africa.

The HOPE Centre project, is our response to this crisis in South Africa. Please check back regularly to see how we are getting on.

Welcome to The HOPE Centre Blog

Welcome to the HOPE Centre Blog! The HOPE Centre is the new signature program for Project HOPE in South Africa. Below is a short introductory video from me, Stefan! Keep checking back to see the progress we make over the coming weeks.