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Save women from breast cancer in South Africa

by Hoedspruit Training Trust
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
Save women from breast cancer in South Africa
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

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

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Dr Sarah Zeb (middle) with Hlokomela staff.
Dr Sarah Zeb (middle) with Hlokomela staff.

It’s time for an update again, oh how time flies! A lot has happened during the past three months here at the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic.

Our Ultrasound Nurse, Sonja Botha, attended two Ultrasound training courses in Johannesburg, Gauteng. She was trained in basic obstetric scanning as well as abdominal and pelvic scanning. A need for these kinds of examinations had been identified and we are proud to now offer this service also.  

She is using her training daily and in this way improving on her skills and on the quality and spectrum of services we can provide to our patients.  In May 2018 she will be attending a 4D training workshop. This will enable us to provide expectant mommies with beautiful images of their unborn babies. This will be a first for many patients!

Sadly, two patients were diagnosed with BIRADS 5* findings in their breasts! Both ladies in one week! They were sent to a referral hospital for biopsies. Results are currently pending. If it was not for the ultrasound services we provide, these pathologies would probably never have been detected, or probably only when it was much too late.

Dr Sarah Zeb, from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore USA, volunteered at the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic during the month of April. She is a specialist in the field of breast imaging and ultrasound. Dr Zeb worked with Sonja and shared some of her knowledge and skills. This was a wonderful opportunity for our staff and a great experience to have Dr Zeb visit us. She also sponsored much needed teaching material which we are grateful for.

Thank you to you, our GlobalGiving family, for continuously making it possible for us to do what we do and save lives!

*When a radiologist interprets an ultrasound image, he or she assigns a score to it used to communicate with doctors about how concerned he or she is about the findings. Did anything look abnormal? How serious is the abnormality that was found? This and other information is efficiently summed up in one number, called the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) score.

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Welcome back to Hlokomela’s newsletter!

We hope everyone had a great new year but for us, the work has only just begun.
A new year is upon us, with our resolutions and resolve we are aiming to expand certain areas:

Online expansion - Our outreach on social media will be expanded to spread awareness and to show our proactive approach within the community, helping us with this mission, a new volunteer has joined our team for marketing/social media and fundraising, (a lot of work) but we found that we needed a dedicated person to manage all these aspects, as running Hlokomela is challenging on its own, this will now take pressure off some of the permanent staff members who were carrying this weight.

Keeping ahead of the curve - New medical training for staff including abdominals and obstetric ultrasound, we aim to keep our staff up to date, as medicine is always changing, we need to keep on top.

From Hlokomela, we’d like to thank all of our team across the sites for their hard work and dedication last year, we hope to have another successful year.

Last but not least, a big thank you to the donors, without your support this wouldn’t be possible!

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Hlokomela Wellness Day with Rotary Club
Hlokomela Wellness Day with Rotary Club

Christmas is just around the corner and the migrant workers are returning to the Hoedspruit area in Limpopo, South Africa to start harvesting mangoes for the season. This is Hlokomela’s busiest time of the year and a great opportunity to reach vulnerable women to educate them about breast and cervical cancer. Thanks to your generous donations through GlobalGiving, we can carry on with this life saving work!

Wellness Day

On October 20, 2017 Hlokomela, in conjunction with the Hoedspruit Rotary Club, held a Family Wellness Day in Hoedspruit town. Here our Women’s Clinic offered breast examinations to women taking part in the day. We managed to screen 44 women and 2 men. Out of the 44, 10 were referred to the clinic for breast ultrasounds. The day was amazing and a wonderful opportunity to create awareness.

Stats

Every month that passes proves to increase the number of women being screened for breast cancer. Women from all walks of life are making use of our facility and are being referred to us from other institutions. We aim to provide a screening service to any woman who needs it. We aim to be sustainable, in order to become sustainable we have implemented a small fee-for-service to women outside of our clinic patient demographics. This has proven to open the door to a much wider number of women in and around our community. We scanned 156 women for breast abnormalities from August 1 to November 1, 2017. Out of the 156, we had 14 patients with some sort of breast pathology. During this period there were no confirmed malignancies.

Sex workers educated about breast and cervical cancer

During September we had a workshop for sex workers about breast and cervical cancer. These women are at a higher risk of developing these cancers due to their HIV status. They were very interested in the information shared and went back to their communities to share the knowledge as well as to show fellow sex workers how to do breast self examination.

Coming up

We are also very excited about possibly expanding our scope to introduce more screening options for women in the near future, such as 4D scans.

Thank you so much for making this vital service possible with all your generous donations! 

Breast Cancer educational material
Breast Cancer educational material

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Organization Information

Hoedspruit Training Trust

Location: Hoedspruit, Limpopo - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Hlokomela
Project Leader:
Christine du Preez
Hoedspruit, Limpopo South Africa
$70,631 raised of $80,000 goal
 
209 donations
$9,369 to go
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