Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on September 24, 2012

Labels: Africa , Malawi, Namibia, South Africa , Health Care Education, Infectious Disease, Women’s and Children’s Health

The Project HOPE Delegation in Africa 2012.

A little more than two weeks ago, our Project HOPE delegation of Board members, alumni, friends and staff gathered in South Africa. Our mission was to come to know, first-hand, HOPE's programs, to meet our people and to help advance HOPE's cause on the continent.

As the delegation members recently boarded their planes for their voyages home, there was a heartfelt sense of accomplishment.

Throughout three countries - South Africa, Namibia and Malawi - the delegation members saw the faces and heard the voices of children, women and men whose lives have been forever changed by the work of HOPE's programs.

We will never forget the woman whose blood pressure was reduced by more than 100 points and who now leads a healthier life. We were moved by the man who had been in a tuberculosis center for more than two months and was on the long way back to health. Yet, all he could think of was to encourage others to be tested for TB and better understand the disease.

Dr. Howe with George Abercrombie and Emma, the head nurse at the Mulanje District Hospital in Malawi.

The HOPE staff members we met in Africa became heroes in our eyes. They have a passion for their work and remarkable compassion for those whom they serve. Several of them are from the villages of, or in situations similar to, the people they are helping. They have in common an overwhelming desire to give something back.

We will long remember an evening in Johannesburg when nearly 100 corporate and South African government representatives attended a banquet to hear about HOPE's partnership with Eli Lilly and Company, which is now helping families in the low-income township of Zandspruit address the challenges of diabetes and high blood pressure. That evening sparked the imagination of many of those in attendance to explore additional opportunities to meet health challenges in South Africa and throughout the African continent.

Our hearts were filled with pride as representatives from the USAID, as well as local African health officials and government leaders, expressed their gratitude to HOPE for the powerful impact our programs have had on the people of the three countries we visited.

Words cannot adequately express the emotions we experienced. But it was clear that the mission of Project HOPE continues apace -- Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.

Thank you for following my blog while I was in Africa. And do share it with others so they too can come to know the work of HOPE in Africa and around the world.

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