Living Hope grows from strength to strength

Health care centre manager Sister Margaret Roberts.

Faith-based non-profit Living Hope has seen a 40% increase in the number of people it helps.

According to Living Hope’s 2023 annual report, the organisation’s 52 community-outreach programmes served 151 165 people from March 2022 to February 2023 – up by 44 287 from the previous year.

Since 2000, Living Hope has offered a range of community services, including educational, disaster-relief, health and drug-recovery programmes.

“Through our programmes, Living Hope journeys with people across all life stages, from conception to death, equipping them to face the hardships of life with resources, support, and hope,” said Living Hope executive director Victor Thomas.

The organisation’s outpatient health service performs almost 100 000 in-home visits annually with trained care staff under the supervision of a professional nurse.

According to Mr Thomas, the carers nurse the sick, dress wounds, monitor patient health, distribute chronic medications, ensure drug compliance, offer spiritual support, give medical and social referrals as needed and also run door-to-door health campaigns.

Community-based services manager Joy Truter said they wanted to provide the proper care at the right time and in the right place while putting people first.

Staff and volunteers from this section had provided free health or social services to almost 432 000 people and had done 96 608 medical home visits and 121 community outreaches.

“Our staff is making a significant impact on health and wellness in the communities we serve. And as we support people to live healthy and longer lives, we also work with community members, community structures, and partners to build a healthy society. We want the people we serve to know that they matter, are loved, have worth and there is hope.”

The organisation’s HIV, Aids, STIs and TB (HAST) programme, headed by Sue Schoultz, aims to reduce the shame and stigma associated with an HIV-positive diagnosis by encouraging people to disclose their status.

The programme also provides contraceptives and preventative TB and HIV medications and education on sexually transmitted infections.

In the past year, Ms Schoultz said, the HAST team had served 283 724 people – many with one-on-one counselling and testing.

Through the programme, staff followed up on 5 877 people on antiretroviral therapy, and 29 891 people were part of education talks, 4 562 were started on TB treatment, and 75 were reached for drug-resistant TB treatment.

“It is vital that the spread of disease is prevented through education, accessible medications, and trained staff, supporting vulnerable people in adherence to treatment,” Ms Schoultz said.

The organisation’s health-care centre is headed by Sister Margaret Roberts and helps patients regain their independence and improve their quality of life after an operation, stroke, heart attack, accident, or the progression of an illness.

Sister Roberts said that over the past year they had seen “incredible transformations and successes, as many patients who were initially bedridden could walk out of our facility”.

The organisation’s sub-acute hospital provides physical rehabilitation, social support, palliative care, recuperation following hospitalisation and respite care.

Valerie Jacobs, 63, was admitted in April 2021 after a severe stroke left her wheelchair-bound, but, according to Ms Roberts, she was able to walk into the health-care centre a few months later as a guest speaker.

“This inspiring story exemplifies the dedication and effectiveness of our rehabilitation team in helping patients achieve their goals,” she said.

Ms Jacobs said that had it not been for the care from Living Hope, she would still be in a wheelchair.

She said Living Hope’s community-based carers visited her to check her blood pressure, do diabetes tests, and bring her her medication, and she did regular exercises through Living Hope’s disability programme.

“I’m so grateful to the carers at Living Hope who were so good to me in my time of need,” she said.

Visit livinghope.co.za to find out more about the organisation.

Carer Ncumisa Kleinhans busy at the Living Hope health-care centre.