It’s hard to believe that our two months in South Africa have already ended. The time went so fast and I am sure that is because we were so busy all the time.
|Jo busy in the Hope Clinic|
The Emthonjeni Hope Centre Clinic is a great asset to the community and provides easy access to treatment and care that in the past has not been accessible to the residents of Zandspruit. Whilst in Zandspruit we met a 50 year old gentleman who had suffered a stroke while at home alone. Health Care Workers from Project Hope happened to be making a pre-clinic visit to this particular man’s compound and found him with symptoms of a stroke, including hemiplegia, and unintelligible speech. They were able to get emergency care to him and when he was released from the hospital, he was referred to the Hope clinic. In a short period of time he was walking on his own, and has now fully recovered the use of his arm and has a near normal blood pressure with minimal medication. He attributes his life and recovery to the clinic. He truly believes that if Project Hope had not been in the community, he would not be alive today.
Much of our time spent working with the Project was organizing the
clinic, helping to streamline processes and improve the timeliness of
visits. Upon arrival at the project, the
clinic often had wait times for patients of several hours. The implementation
of new processes has been successful in decreasing the appointment wait times
to less than 60 minutes which was a goal for the clinic. Streamlining procedures for drawing blood for
lab tests has helped to decrease wait times so that most patients are waiting
less than 20 minutes and the process for the Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP’s)
is much smoother. Improving the ability
for the FNP’s to see more patients is an important step to providing more
patients with services.
|Jo's sister and fellow exchange nurse: Dot, organising medication.|
|Jo and Dot training volunteers how to test glucose levels|
In addition to the improvement in the clinic, it has been important to evaluate the services and provide assurance intended outcomes are being achieved. Data collection, collation and analysis of the data are an integral part of this project. This work will be ongoing, but has already demonstrated that treatment for hypertension has been successful. Also, there is a decrease in the glycosated hemoglobin’s for the diabetic patients.
It has been a tremendous privilege to participate in this project and I will never forget the wonderful experiences. Seeing a 22 year old mother with four children under the age of 5 with a blood pressure of 200/120 and being able to get her on medications that may save her life was very rewarding. Having a 35 year old gentleman come to the clinic with a blood sugar of 25.1 mmol/l and being able to get him medications and education to help manage his diabetes was a testimony to the importance of the clinic. There are multiple stories of this type that have provided meaning and importance to the project.
One of the other great benefits of this project is the fact that local
people are trained and become employed by Project Hope to sustain this
project. Not only does the project
provide much needed employment for several people, it is strengthening their
self esteem, providing value to their lives, and helping them to become
advocates for their patients and the clinic.
It has been a genuine privilege to be able to provide leadership and
development for these young people and to know that their lives will be
improved for this opportunity.
|Zandspruit resident screened by Jo & Dot's team|
I cannot personally say enough about how much meaning this project has brought to my life. There are so many skills that I have been able to develop and improve and the cultural exchange has been immeasurable. I will never forget the people I have grown to love. I hope that I have been able to make a small contribution to the Project and I know that the Project has had a life changing effect on me.
|Jo & Dot with volunteer screening team about to head out in to Zandspruit|