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Global NGO says still much work to be done in country where nearly 10% of population is living with diabetes and many more are at-risk

Millwood, VA, November 14, 2014
Project HOPE's Team at the HOPE Centre South Africa in Zandspruit

Project HOPE, the international health education and humanitarian assistance organization, on World Diabetes Day is highlighting the progress it is making against diabetes in South Africa, where the disease has become a significant and growing public health burden in recent years. 

Three hundred eighty-two million people now suffer from diabetes globally according to estimates published by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in December 2013, and the IDF predicts this number will rise to 592 million by 2035.  The greatest increase is expected to be in Africa, where the number of people living with diabetes is expected to double from today’s 19.8 million number.  Driven by urbanization and the prevalence of processed and fast foods, Africa is now struggling with obesity and related illnesses.  No other country in Africa has a greater diabetes burden than South Africa, where ten percent of the population has diabetes (2.6 million) and another five million South Africans are estimated to have pre-diabetes.

In an effort to reverse these trends, Project HOPE, launched the HOPE Center in 2012, with the financial support of the global pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly & Company, and assistance from the local government.  Located in the township of Zandspruit, a very poor community in the outskirts of Johannesburg, the HOPE Centre is representative of a typical peri-urban community in South Africa where approximately 9.3% of the population is estimated to be living with diabetes.

Since 2012, the HOPE Centre has served as a community-based clinic and educational center, focused on the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), especially diabetes and hypertension.  The HOPE Centre combines health promotion and screenings, delivery of quality primary health care and support programs that promote patient self-care and prevention.

The efforts of the HOPE Centre to prevent and treat diabetes and related illnesses in Zandspruit since 2012 has shown the following impact:

  • 9,553 members of the Zandspruit community screened for diabetes and hypertension
  • 12,888 patient visits to the HOPE Centre clinic
  • 1,112 patients diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension for the first time; diabetes and hypertension well controlled among 68% of HOPE Centre patients
  • 119 community health workers trained on health promotion and screenings for diabetes and hypertension

“Today, the HOPE Centre operates as a center of excellence and informs our work as we expand our reach to address the burden of NCDs more broadly across South Africa,” said Julie Brink, Project HOPE’s Country Director for South Africa.  “As such, we have grown through partnerships with other local NGOs and government to support chronic disease management in additional communities and have begun training community health workers in health promotion and screenings for diabetes and hypertension across our region.”

Project HOPE has been providing health education in diabetes in the developing world since 1998, when the organization started a program for health care professionals in diabetes treatment in China.  Having already trained more than 37,000 health care providers, Project HOPE continues to provide diabetes training to general practitioners in areas of need in China today.  In India, Project HOPE has also worked to train health care providers in the prevention and proper treatment of diabetes.  Since 2007, Project HOPE has trained more than 3,300 health professions in India in diabetes.

World Diabetes Day occurs annually on November 14.  Led by the International Diabetes Federation, World Diabetes Day unites the global diabetes community to promote diabetes awareness and advocacy.

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves.  Identifiable to many by the SS Hope, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, as well as conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries.  Visit our website projecthope.org or follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg.

Media Contact

Geraldine Carroll   Tel. 540.257.3746   gcarroll@projecthope.org

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