Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on September 12, 2012

Labels: Africa , South Africa , Chronic Disease

The HOPE Center in South Africa

The HOPE Centre in Zandspruit, South Africa is aptly named. Today, I met a 49-year-old woman who found new hope in her life thanks to a simple blood pressure test she received through the services provided at the HOPE Centre. 

But before I share my new friend's amazing story, let me tell you about The HOPE Centre. It is the only program in South Africa that addresses the full continuum of care - prevention, diagnosis and disease management - for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. 

Zandspruit South Africa

The HOPE Centre, Project HOPE's largest program in South Africa, is made possible through the generous support of Eli Lilly and Company. It serves multiple communities with a population of more than 200,000, and is  the gem of Zandspruit Township where more than 60,000 people live in nearly 14,500 modest shacks. 

Now for the story. At the request of the HOPE Centre staff, my friend allowed them to come to her community, Cosmo City which neighbors Zandspruit, to conduct diabetes and blood pressure screenings. Near the end of the screenings, and virtually on a whim,  my friend decided to have her blood pressure checked. 

Dr. Howe and HOPE Center Beneficiary

To her surprise, her blood pressure was more than 100 points above normal. She was a prime candidate for stroke. The HOPE Centre staff immediately mapped out a plan that included diet, fitness and proper attention from health professionals. 

When I met her today, her blood pressure was back within a healthy range and she had lost weight. She had new hope and a new outlook on life. 

My friend is now getting her family in shape with the guidance of the programs available at the HOPE Centre. And, once her family is in shape, she is committed to preaching the benefits of The HOPE Centre to the community. 

Thanks to the outstanding leadership of HOPE's South Africa Country Director Stefan Lawson and the selfless work of his staff and volunteers, the residents of Zandspruit and the surrounding communities have new hope against chronic diseases.

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