A helping medical hand

Victor Makgothokgwa with Erushka Pillay, test a patient.

On a windy and overcast 19 November, residents of Zandspruit were invited by Project Hope to test for diabetes and hypertension, and even join in on a fun run.

Project Hope is an international organisation that delivers essential medicine and supplies, volunteers and medical training to prevent disease, promote wellness, respond to disaster and save lives.

Erushka Pillay with Hazel Mgugu who came third.

Erushka Pillay with Hazel Mgugu who came third.

The fun run, proudly won by Benedict Cele, was a platform to educate residents about the importance of keeping fit and healthy. At the same time, Project Hope volunteers tested residents for diabetes and hypertension, for free.

Project Hope’s country director, Erushka Pillay, said the day, postponed from the weekend before, was a celebration of World Diabetes Day.

Erushka Pillay with Eva Sarela who was the first woman to finish the Fun Run.

Erushka Pillay with Eva Sarela who was the first woman to finish the Fun Run.

She added that the Project Hope clinic in Zandspruit, The Hope Centre, which has been operating since 2012, has included the community since its arrival, training youth as health workers and data capturers. “It is one of the only public clinics in South Africa that focuses on diabetes and hypertension,” she said.

About 2 000 patients are registered at the clinic and 80 per cent of the staff are from the community, in what Pillay calls a very integrated programme.

Cooking lessons and exercise programmes were also presented to the enthusiastic community. Ward 114 councillor Victor Mafinya, said Project Hope has had a real impact in the community and he hopes they will continue to do so.

Erushka Pillay with Paulina Mefereka who came second.

Erushka Pillay with Paulina Mefereka who came second.

Pillay agreed that Project Hope has been well received. Residents can go to the clinic for screenings and some are retained in its care, or visited on a monthly basis.

Like with any organisation, funding is the most difficult part of running Project Hope. “However, we do receive funding by Eli Lilly and NCD, we are in a partnership with the City of Johannesburg and we are supported by nursing colleges, universities and pharmaceutical companies,” she said.

Details: Project Hope on 011 794 5516; epillay@projecthope.org

Amy Ingram

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