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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
Washing line full of bras donated to Hlokomela!
Washing line full of bras donated to Hlokomela!

Hlokomela Women’s Clinic is going from strength to strength and with the support of the GlobalGiving family, we are able to reach new heights, some of which I take pride in sharing with you today.

Bravolution Update

We are proud to say that we are receiving bra donations on a regular basis at Hlokomela Women’s Clinic! We have been able to do fittings and give bras away to 10 patients since the project started. Very recently, some Brazilian visitors donated a whole washing line of new and used bras, over 300 of them!

We also plan to start an underwear drive in the near future, where people can donate new underwear to the vulnerable patients of the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic. The need is so much greater than we can ever imagine!

A baby was born…

A huge part of what makes Hlokomela such a wonderful organisation is the ability of the staff to handle challenges. The personality of the organisation allows for people to grow, develop skills and with regular staff/team building events, we become equipped to deal with challenges and “out of the ordinary” situations as they arise.

In February one morning a woman (9 months pregnant and fully dilated) walked into the Hlokomela Clinic. Keep in mind that we do not offer maternity services as yet so this was not a regular event at all! The staff quickly assessed the patient and found that she was moments away from giving birth. With quick thinking, improvising and amazing teamwork, a little baby girl was born. Healthy and happy! This was truly a joyous day. Mommy and baby were taken to the Tintswalo Hospital with an ambulance for evaluation after the delivery.

Cancer patient receives treatment

During March, 3 patients were transported to the Helen Joseph Hospital for further testing and consultations with their doctors. One of our patients *Grace Ngobeni, came to the Women’s Clinic in October 2018. She did not present with a significant mass but had a strange re-occurring nipple discharge. A slide was sent to the lab and low and behold, the results came back positive for carcinoma. After undergoing ultrasound, mammograms and numerous testing at the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, she received her final results and it is indeed breast cancer. The staging and treatment plan is yet to be finalised. If not for the Breast Health Foundation, GlobalGiving, Rotary and the Tshemba Foundation, for making the work we do possible, this patient may never have been diagnosed.

*Grace Ngobeni is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of the patient.

 

In October 2018 a 4D scan was done on a 40-year-old pregnant woman. During our consultation, she disclosed that her doctor had ordered some blood tests to screen her unborn child for the possibility of Down’s syndrome. This test is mostly indicated for women of advanced maternal age.

The blood test came back positive. The patient and her husband took the news badly. Although the blood test is just a screening and a definitive answer would only be obtained by means of an amniocentesis test, the family was nevertheless very distraught.

The risks of the amniocentesis procedure were weighed up and the family decided not to have the procedure done. Over the past few months, the patient visited the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic for scans during which I also counselled her, tried to comfort her and gave her some facts and cleared myths about Down’s syndrome.

By the end of her pregnancy, she felt ready and more equipped for raising a child with special needs.

On Monday 28th January 2019 this patient came to show off her precious little baby boy.

The final test results of the baby came in and this little boy it turns out was born without the extra chromosome that would have caused him to have Down’s syndrome.

Keeping sex workers safe

At Hlokomela we are committed to providing good quality health care to sex workers. This is something we do without judgement or prejudice. Due to the high risk female sex workers face in developing cervical cancer, we focus on involving our Sex Work Project peer educators in keeping a database of referrals to the Women’s Clinic. This helps assure that no sex worker misses her annual Pap smear. This also allows us to consult and provide treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), arrange Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) if needed and just give some emotional support. It also creates an environment where our women feel safe and comfortable to talk about their social or domestic problems, report abuse or just ask health related questions.

CANSA Shavathon – it’s all for a good cause!

On Saturday 13 April 2019, Maruleng Auto in Hoedspruit in conjunction with Hlokomela hosted a CANSA Shavathon. This was held at the Maruleng Auto premises in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa. This is a drive that motivates people to get involved in supporting cancer awareness. By donating an amount of money, you can have your hair sprayed in different colours, or on a more serious note, you could have your hair shaved off. The hair then gets used to produce wigs for cancer patients who lose their hair due to chemo therapy.

On this day, Hlokomela Women’s Clinic sold cupcakes as this was an opportunity to make the public aware of the work we do as an organisation. We also shared information about breast and cervical cancer. All the proceeds of the day were generously donated to the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic.

Hlokomela staff at CANSA Shavathon
Hlokomela staff at CANSA Shavathon

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                              Hlokomela Women’s Clinic Report

                                                  

                                                    

 

We are excited to reflect back on the last 3 months at the Hlokomela women’s Clinic.

2018 has been an award-winning year! Literally. The Hlokomela Women’s Clinic was nominated for a Community Chess Impomelelo Social innovation award.

We won a Gold award! The award ceremony was held at the prestigious Art scape Theatre in Cape Town on the 28th of November 2018. Along with this very honourable award, came a R30000-00 cheque.

The women’s Clinic decided to allocate the funds toward the production of re-useable sanitary towels.

With over a million South African girls missing school every year, due to not being able to afford sanitary products, we believe that investing in this project will allow us to help many young girls, not only for one or two months, but for much longer periods of time. Allowing them to attend school and obtain an education. This is the right of each child in South Africa.

No girl’s education should ever be hindered by the inability to obtain sanitary products.

Referrals

 

As mentioned in previous reports, one of our greatest challenges remains the referral system for patients with possible malignant findings in their breasts.

 

As also previously reported, negotiations between the Breast Health Foundation, Discovery Health and Hlokomela Women’s Clinic, it has now become possible to refer patients to a Breast Clinic in Johannesburg. The Helen Josef Hospital’s Breast Clinic now allow for patients from the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic to consult with the amazing team of doctors and specialist, under the lead of Professor Carol Benn. Prof Benn is well known all around the world for her research, and ground braking work in the breast oncology field. 

 

We are proud to announce that we currently have 5 patients under the care of Prof Benn and her team. Each patient at a different stage of diagnosis and or treatment.

 

The Breast health Foundation, under the guidance of their CEO, Louise Turner and Discovery Health, has generously agreed to take care of travel costs from Hoedspruit to Johannesburg as well as to provide accommodation to patients while undergoing testing or receiving treatment.

 

 

16 Days of activism against women and child abuse

 

On Saturday 8 December 2018, a group of farm workers, Hlokomela employees and members of the community, participated in a fun walk, in protest against the abuse of women and children. The high summer temperatures we experience here in Hoedspruit, and it can be extremely hot with mercury rising to mid-40’s (degrees Celsius) did not prevent us from part taking in this very important event. The day ended with one of our local farms, Rederberg Estate, hosting a friendly soccer match. The day was filled with music, fun and an awareness of the cause.

 

 

 

The “bra” drop

 

 

During the last 18 moths of working with female farm workers, it has become apparent that so many women do not own the correct fitting under garments. Many women simply cannot afford to buy bra’s or wear wrong sizes handed down to them from family members or friends.

The Hlokomela Women’s Clinic identified the need and decided to launch a project called The Bra drop. This project allows for the donation of new or previously loved bra’s to the women’s clinic. These garments are washed and sorted according to size.

When a patient enters our clinic and the need arises, we go through out stock of bra’s and find the correct size to fit the patient.

We have had a great response with this project and we hope to help many women in 2019.

 

We are very excited about 2019. We trust that we will help/ guide and continue to provide much needed breast cancer screening and other women’s health related screening to our farm workers and extended communities.

 

Team Hlokomela Women’s Clinic


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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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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
$71,939 raised of $90,000 goal
 
273 donations
$18,061 to go
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