January 25, 2017
Eli Lilly volunteers at HOPE Centre clinic in Zandspruit, South Africa

Project HOPE’s HOPE Centre clinic in Zandspruit, South Africa once again benefited from the expertise of Eli Lilly’s Connecting Hearts Abroad (CHA) volunteer program.

The only clinic of its kind in South Africa, the HOPE Centre is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, especially diabetes and hypertension. The clinic not only offers treatment, it also promotes awareness about chronic illnesses -- especially diabetes and hypertension -- with an emphasis on prevention.

Eli Lilly’s volunteers focus on ways to influence the behaviors of patients and their families to adopt a healthier lifestyle by providing tools to offer group education to patients by Community Health Workers. They also provide clinic staff with the administrative, technical and communications skills needed to create educational documents and do presentations.

Eli Lilly volunteers support HOPE Centre in South Africa

This year’s group of nine CHA volunteers supported the professional development and continuing education plan for staff in the South Africa office through a series of workshops updating them on the Office suite of programs including basic computer literacy skills for junior staff and advanced Excel, Publisher and Access training for management. CHA volunteers also worked with staff to develop an exercise video and educational materials to improve patient interactions and encounters, with the goal of healthier life choices for patients.

The volunteers’ professional backgrounds include journalism, information technology, marketing, business and medicine, enabling them to lend their expertise to the program.

“The CHA program offers a cultural exchange program where there is a transfer of skills and cultural awareness; they learn from us and vice versa,” says Erushka Pillay, Project HOPE’s Country Director, South Africa. “This program provides invaluable resources that support us in improving our services in a cost effective manner with large outputs in a limited time frame.”

Volunteers develop exercise video to promote health in South Africa.

Since its introduction in 2011, the Connecting Hearts Abroad program sends at least 100 employees per year on two-week assignments to support communities in need, like HOPE’s program in South Africa. To date, nearly 1,000 Lilly ambassadors have traveled throughout Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, serving in communities that often lack access to basic resources. When they return, Lilly ambassadors share their experiences and insights with colleagues encouraging deeper global perspective.

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