Refilwe Lechoba joined Project HOPE in October 2012 as Program Assistant at the HOPE Centre in Zandspruit, South Africa. The HOPE Centre is a community health clinic focused on treating and raising awareness about noncommunicable diseases, especially diabetes and hypertension. Both diseases are rampant among the impoverished communities of South Africa.
Refilwe enjoys working in the program department because she does many important and different things – like screenings, building community gardens and doing pre-clinic home visits – that are all linked together and can help save or change someone’s life.
“Every time I go to my work I feel blessed and joyful inside me because I know our team is going to make a difference in someone’s life today,” says Refilwe. It’s hard for me to stay away from my work. This is how amazing I find the work I do for Project HOPE in programs. Reaching out to people in different places and offering them services that will change their lives takes my breath away.”
Refilwe recognizes the many benefits of the screenings for diabetes and hypertension she provides as part of her job.
“It is not just an awareness campaign,” says Refilwe. “We educate people about diabetes and heart disease, the silent killers. It’s amazing how people are afraid of HIV/AIDS and not these two diseases.”
Refilwe sees that the screenings are where most people identify or learn that they are at risk and receive information on what to do onwards. It’s where people are saved from the possibility of having a limb amputated at a later stage because they were educated on how they can prevent that from happening.
“We as health promoters can also go directly to the homes of people, instead of waiting for them to come to us. We also teach people about healthy lifestyles and planting community gardens, and the list goes on and on.”
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