It’s mid-winter here in the Western Cape, and as I write this, I’m reflecting on the challenging circumstances that almost all of our community members find themselves in. The obvious nature of lacking infrastructure and lack of service delivery means that everyday life can be very difficult, especially when faced with health challenges in low resources settings. In our context, the Living Hope Community Based Health Workers are bridging the gap between overworked public health facilities and the real needs of the community on the ground, where people may not be able to access health services for various reasons. Perhaps the barrier is a lack of transport, fear of medical procedures, lack of education, fear of gang violence, recent xenophobic activity or simply a lack of communication. It’s our job to reduce the barriers and help people to get the help they need.
In truly amazing ways, the CHWs are accessing and reaching deeper into our communities than ever before. Our client load is increasing daily. Outreach has never been more comprehensive! Word of mouth and calls from out of our service area speak to our growing reputation for being the people who meet needs.
Our 57 CHWs conduct home visits in the community every day. In the client’s home, they can monitor vital signs, administer bed baths, complete wound care, check medication compliance and identify any new medical or social problems. These clients then become familiar to our staff, not as anonymous cases but as connected families in our communities. The CHWs are also offering three public outreaches per month, where they offer health and wellness checks to the public.
Additionally, our ante-natal programme called the “First Thousand Days” offers support to pregnant mothers from the time of a positive pregnancy test until 2 years after the child is born. Our trained staff offer weekly breastfeeding coaching, immunizations, weight checks, education including babies’ development, and mental health screenings for mom. Each mom and new baby gets an automatic 2 visits in their home following delivery and more if needed as well as referrals to the clinic if more support is needed. Our aim is to ensure that no new mom or baby falls through the cracks during this vulnerable time.
Check out the following photos from this programme and see below for how you can help!
Health and wellness checks
Living Hope carers on the right making their way through flooded streets to reach our clients.
Health interventions can happen anywhere, at anytime!
Living Hope staff meeting together with faith community leaders in prayer for the health and safety of our communities.
Screenings, food deliveries, clinic talks and immunizations are all in a day’s work.
The Community Based Services is a bedrock programme at Living Hope. Our staff feel a strong sense to “nurse” in the traditional sense of the word. In hearing their stories, their values and sense of duty are often put to the test with any number of urgent needs. To our staff, no matter a holiday or weekend or after hours, each client becomes the “exception” to the rule. Often leaving their own families in their off time to find and care for the “lost sheep”, they go where and when no one else will! They serve joyfully without counting the cost and never ignore a cry for help. It seems to me that their unofficial motto is “If we can, we will!”
I’ll leave you with just two snippets from recent client interactions:
We received a call over a weekend to change the bandages of a 9 month old baby who had been burned. In evaluating the baby, we discovered that the burn needed much more attention and that also her entire family had also been diagnosed with COVID! Not only was she at risk from infection with COVID, but also the burn was at risk of infection. Within a few hours we were able to organize her being admitted to the local children’s hospital for burn treatment and care while her family were ill.
On a recent public holiday, the local hospital contacted us to say that a newborn baby had mistakenly left the hospital before a needed treatment was finished. They were concerned about the baby’s health without the medicine he needed. Unfortunately, the contact information they had on file wasn’t correct. Within 2 hours of the call, our staff located the mother and and baby through our door-to-door canvassing efforts in the neighborhood, and they were transported back to the hospital to complete the necessary treatment.
We rejoice in these powerful moments when health, healing and hope reach clients in need!
How can you help?
This programme desperately needs dressing supplies such as gloves, gauze, bandages, equipment like stethoscopes, blood pressure and blood sugar machines, adult sized nappies, and hygiene products such as roll on deodorant, facecloths, bar soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, cream/lotion etc. These hygiene items are needed year round in large quantities. We would welcome donations of these items of any brand at any time! Alternatively items like these can be bought on Take-A-Lot or Loot (both are reputable websites) and delivered to:
7 Kommetjie Main Rd
Click the blue button to donate via our website or see our EFT details below. Thank you for helping us to “Bring Hope and Break Despair” in the well-being of our communities.
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