Cosmo City Screening Day

Drew Wallace, a volunteer from the US, blogs about his first screening event in Cosmo City...

 One of the biggest problems with chronic disease care in Africa is the lack of diagnosis. Most people with diabetes don’t know they have it until they start to develop acute symptoms, blindness, foot ulcers, etc. What we are trying to accomplish with screening days is to identify people who are diabetic and pre-diabetic before they start to exhibit symptoms, so that they can then manage their condition, and never develop some of the problems that arise when diabetes and high blood pressure go too long undetected. At the screening day, people take about 5 minutes to get tested, and if their results show they have diabetes or high blood pressure, we can refer them to a free government clinic to receive treatment or to our  own HOPE Centre Clinic, which ever is closer for them to get to.
One of the great things about South African health care is that medicine is provided free by the government, but the diagnosis and management system is woefully underdeveloped. To highlight this of the 110 people we screened in Cosmo City we found over 50% of people were either overweight or obese which increases their risk of developing diabetes, and 70% of people had hypertension. We also were able to diagnose 7 people with diabetes who came to us with dangerously high blood glucose levels.

Hopefully, through screening events like this we can get more people to be aware of their conditions, and encourage them to stick with their treatment plans, to live healthy and full lives.


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