Apply to Join
Oct 24, 2018

Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Hlokomela

Sr Nomsa Mashile teaches breast self examination
Sr Nomsa Mashile teaches breast self examination

We are excited to give some feedback on the last 3 months here at the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic.

The team from Jacaranda FM (Possibly the largest South African Radio station and certainly one of the most popular) form part of an amazing initiative where the morning show host, Martin Bester (DJ and musician) and his band tour the country and involve communities of the towns they tour across South Africa.  There is no cover charge for the show, instead, people are requested to donate a blanket as entry fee, or in the case of Hlokomela Women’s Clinic, a packet of sanitary pads.

On 10 August 2018 the tour came to Hoedspruit! Hlokomela Women’s Clinic was the beneficiary for the event. The morning Breakfast show was broadcast live from the Moditlo Events Hub.

Christine du Preez and myself, Sonja Botha, were given the opportunity to talk about Hlokomela and in particular, the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic, live on air. We were able to talk about the 4D Ultrasound now available and about the impact that the Women’s Clinic has on the Hoedspruit community.

This event was a huge success! The sanitary products and blankets have already been given to people in great need of these very basic things. 

Referral system

Identifying and diagnosing pathology is one thing, what comes after that is another thing altogether.

The referral system that is in place within the Government protocol, is just not effective or even functional at best. This challenge came under the attention of the COO of the Breast Health Foundation, Louise Turner. By January 2019 with the support of the Breast Health Foundation, a proper referral system, including accommodation, support before during and after treatment, will be put into place and made available for each patient with breast cancer.

Discussions and negotiations are also underway to allow for biopsies and more advanced procedures to be done locally.

Outreaches and Events

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Rotary in conjunction with Hlokomela hosted a wellness day on 12 October 2018. This event was a great success and just under 100 women were given free physical breast examinations and education on breast cancer. 

Throughout this month Hlokomela Women’s Clinic is involved various outreaches and awareness campaigns on farms in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region. The aim of these outreaches are to promote awareness about breast and cervical cancer. These events give farm workers the opportunities to receive physical breast examinations and the opportunity to be referred to the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic in the case of a suspicious finding.

During these outreaches, women are given talks on women’s health and encouraged to ask questions. Each woman receives sanitary products and male and female condoms are also offered to them. We reach 200 to 350 people on such a day. 

The Hlokomela Women’s Clinic was also invited to speak about breast cancer at a “high tea” event for the elderly in the Hoedspruit area. Breast self-examination was demonstrated, a session of questions and answers allowed for some fun interaction. This was a lovely opportunity to reach yet another vulnerable group of women in our society.

Volunteers

We are very excited to welcome Dr. Petra Friedmann to the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic. Dr. Friedmann is a German gynecologist and will be volunteering from early October and into November. Many of our patients have already benefitted from her knowledge and skills. I am personally looking forward to learning as much as possible from her.

Thank you to our GlobalGiving friends for your support over the last 3 months!  You make all the difference to our work here at the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic!

Kgopotso teaches young girls about safe sex
Kgopotso teaches young girls about safe sex
Breast cancer awareness for farm workers
Breast cancer awareness for farm workers

Links:

Aug 2, 2018

Trauma debriefing changing lives at Hlokomela

Community Health Workers TRE training group
Community Health Workers TRE training group

With only the last training session left to go before our Community Health Workers will qualify as Trauma Releasing Excercises (TRE) facilitators, the benefits of TRE are becoming more apparent each day. Thank you for this opportunity that we can share our excitement with you, our GlobalGiving family!

Besides the many anticipated benefits our Community Health Workers will bring to people in the communities of Hoedspruit and Tzaneen in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, our patients here at Hlokomela Clinic are already reaping the fruits of having a fully trained TRE facilitator at Hlokomela, Kgopotso Manamela.

 Sara* was sent to the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic by her employer. After obtaining her general medical history, Sonja Botha performed a breast, abdominal as well as pelvic ultrasound. All vital signs were taken and found to be in order.  After the examination the conversation lead Sara to open up about some of the emotional challenges she was facing. It came to light that she has lost both her children, the first born child at 6 months. After the loss of her child she fell pregnant again and lost that child just before he graduated from kindergarten. Sara lost both of her children in very traumatic ways.

Sara had never been counselled after the loss of her children and it was clear that she needed help. You see, Sara hasn’t menstruated in 4 years, and she so desperately wants a child. Her body just did not want to co-operate. We referred her to the hospital for further medical examination but for her emotional well-being we knew we could help.

Hlokomela’s in-house TRE facilitator, Kgopotso Manamela, completed one TRE session with Sara right here at Hlokomela. Afterwards, Sara said that she felt less stressed and more relaxed overall. Kgopotso has committed to facilitating more sessions with Sara.

The story of Sara just reiterates the importance of a holistic approach when working with people. We could very easily have missed the hurt and pain this woman was going through had we focused only on the physical symptoms. I salute this amazing Hlokomela team for their compassion!

*Sara is a pseudonym used in this report to protect our patient’s true identity.

Links:

Jul 24, 2018

Hlokomela Women's Clinic celebrates Mandela Day

Sonja teaching breast self examination
Sonja teaching breast self examination

Thanks to your support, our GlobalGiving friends, the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic is reaching and teaching more women by the day about women’s health issues.

Hlokomela Women’s Clinic, in conjunction with Rotary Club Hoedspruit, hosted an outreach on 18 July 2018 in celebration of Mandela Day. This event took place at Kgwana High School in Sekororo, Limpopo South Africa.

At this outreach we reached 400 high school girls. The theme of the day was “My body, my rights”. We spoke about breast and cervical cancer and demonstrated how to perform a self-breast examination. Each girl received a goody bag with sanitary products and treats. The day was a great success.

You may recall a patient by the name of Anna* from my previous reports. Anna (55), was scanned early this year and ultrasound examination found her to have a highly suspicious BIRADS 5 mass. After our friends at the Helen Joseph Hospital assisted in getting Anna in for a biopsy, her results came back positive for Breast CA clinical stage T3.  Anna underwent a unilateral mastectomy and is now recovering well. Anna would most likely never have had the opportunity to fight breast cancer, had she not been able to access ultrasound screening. Anna is now anxious to get back to work and continue with her life.

Lerato* (39) who was also scanned in the same week as Anna* was also diagnosed with Breast CA after a biopsy was done. Lerato has small children and is currently unemployed. At this point her treatment plan does not include surgery, however she has started with chemotherapy.  She is being assisted through the kindness of people, who believe in this programme, with transport costs to and from the hospital in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province where she will be receiving treatment. Just to put into perspective, Lerato is a Hlokomela patient. She knew about breast self-examination as she was taught by our staff. She knew to report to the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic if she ever felt a lump.  Lerato’s cancer was detected early because she was taught about Breast Cancer. Education. Awareness. Accessibility. This is what we are trying to achieve and Lerato is proof that we are indeed, one person at a time, reaching our goals.

Our third patient is Sally*. She was 12 weeks pregnant at the time of her visit to Hlokomela Women’s Clinic. Sally’s pregnancy came as a shock for her and she decided to get an abortion. Her local doctor gave her oral medication to abort the unborn foetus. Sally took the medication and thought that she had aborted. After about a week of not noticing any bleeding, she decided to come to Hlokomela Women’s Clinic. After obtaining her history and explaining the Ultrasound procedure to her, we commenced with a scan. Upon touching her stomach with the probe, an image of a foetus appeared on the screen. The movement of the foetus surprised her and she gave a sigh of relief. I asked her if she wanted to hear the foetus’s heartbeat and without hesitation she said “yes please mam” The following few minutes were emotional to say the least. Sally commented by saying “I think this baby should be alive”. Sally was referred to one of the Professional Nurses at the Hlokomela Main Clinic for a consultation and referred to an ante-natal facility. This baby boy indeed has a strong will to be born and to live!

*Pseudonyms were used to protect our patients’ identity.

School girls at the Women
School girls at the Women's Clinic outreach
Handing out goody bags at Women
Handing out goody bags at Women's Clinic outreach

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.