Health & Nutrition

Home Based Care, St Lucia

By July 4, 2016 February 24th, 2020 No Comments
By working within the communities with trained care givers and other community care givers, we help to alleviate the suffering of the bedridden or those who cannot get to the clinic by administering medical home based care to elderly and chronic patients.
St Lucia is located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast of South Africa. Still ruled by the Zulu royal family, the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal maintain a very traditional way of life. Sadly, the population of KwaZulu-Natal has been devastated by the effects of poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Being one of the areas hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, almost 2 million of the province’s inhabitants are infected with the virus – the majority of whom reside in rural areas. South Africa boasts the largest AIDS treatment program in the world, but the healthcare system of KwaZulu-Natal has been ravaged by the virus’ impact on the wellbeing of its people.

Many local clinics have a lack of medication, meaning patients are queuing for long periods to may or may not get their medication.

The rural layout of most villages around St Lucia means that residents’ homes are located far from their nearest clinic. Because public transport is scarce and unreliable and most people cannot afford it anyway, their only choice is to walk to the clinic. Often the sick, injured and elderly are simply unable to manage this, and as a result do not receive the medical treatment they desperately need.

Every aspect of life in the KwaZulu-Natal province has been affected by the HIV epidemic, and the healthcare system has probably been hardest hit. There are 5107 people for every public sector doctor, and over 1000 residents for every public sector nurse, meaning clinics are severely understaffed and underfunded. The lack of a stable healthcare system coupled with the HIV epidemic makes the province in dire need of medical outreach assistance.

By working within the communities with trained care givers and African Impact medical volunteers and interns, we help to alleviate the suffering of the bedridden or those who cannot get to the clinic by administering medical care to elderly and chronic patients in their own homes on a regular basis through the medical program. By providing assistance, a vehicle and basic medical equipment we enable the care givers to reach more people and offer more care than they would otherwise be able to.

Through the funds raised we are able to keep projects going with necessary supplies.

Home Assistance:
Many people in the community are unable to do the extra things that we take for granted. Whether it be simply doing the dishes or fetching water. We regularly visit members of the community who are elderly, wheelchair bound or too sick to do these chores to assist however we can. The Happy Africa Foundation fundraises for cleaning products.

Often referred to us by community caregivers, we work with patients who are under nourished and needing support. We work to ensure we can provide nutrition programs as well as e-Pap and nutritious shakes when needed. These patients are monitored to ensure they are consistently building upon their health.

We visit patients for weekly physio appointments; Many patients in the community simply cannot afford the transport to hospital appointments and the lack of physiotherapists means regular treatment is not always available. Supplies such as stress balls and resistance bands are fundraised for.

Home Based Care:
Through home based care we can identify patients in the community who are suffering due to a wide range of reasons. Often bedridden they cannot get to the clinic meaning they are in need of care from their home. We fundraise for supplies that are a necessity to the project, such as basic medical equipment and food parcels.

Support Groups:
Finally we work with much-needed support groups in two communities which aim to empower members who are affected by HIV through friendship, education, gardening and craft making groups.

Short Term Impact:
The provision of life-saving medical treatment, health education, chronic medication and palliative treatment improves the health and alleviates the suffering of local people in need.

Long Term Impact:
Improving the general health of the community and passing on knowledge of positive and healthy living to the people will greatly improve the quality of life of the people living in the rural communities surrounding St Lucia. We help by educating people through these projects, a ripple effect will occur and eventually create a more health conscious community.

The province of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast of South Africa and borders the countries of Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. As its name suggests, it is the birthplace of the proud Zulu nation. Still ruled by the Zulu royal family, the rural areas of KZN maintain a very traditional way of life. Sadly, the population of KwaZulu-Natal has been devastated by the effects of poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. A Staggering 40.2% of people in the province are estimates to be infected with HIV, and about 10% of these have AIDS.

Khula Village:
Khula Village, situated just five kilometres outside of the coastal town of St Lucia, is home to more than 13000 people. Many of the villagers are either farm workers, employed in the local town of St Lucia or work on government programmes. Although still a fairly new settlement, this ever developing village has a clinic, a primary school, a high school, various créches and many community buildings and shops. Building renovations are carried out constant, which gives true meaning to Khulas IsiZulu name, which means growing. According to local non-governmental organisations, an estimated 60-80% of Khula’s population is infected with HIV.

Ezwenelisha Village:
Ezwenelisha village is set in the beautiful rural landscape of the East coast of KwaZulu-Natal, about 10 kilometres outside of St Lucia. A genuinely traditional, rural village in the heart of Zululand, Ezwenelisha is some to warm and welcoming people. Ezwenelisha meaning ‘new world’ in isiZulu.

The rural layout of the village means that resident’s homes are located far from the community clinic, schools and shops. Many houses are built by the government are fair sized concrete structures that provide good shelter. Although travelling is difficult because of the lack of reliable public transport, meaning many are unable to travel to local tourist town St Lucia for work. The overwhelming majority of Ezwenelisha’s households do not have running water and people still have to walk to the nearest river or pond to gather water for drinking and cooking.

The majority of Ezwenelisha’s inhabitants work in the nearby sugarcane and paper industries. The communities’ proximity to various agricultural industries means that it is frequently visited by migrant workers. Unfortunately, this makes the area particularly susceptible to high HIV/AIDS rates. It is believed 70-80% of the population here is infected with HIV.

Achieved So Far:
The Medical and Home-Based Care project launched in 2009 with the mission to assist patients located in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa who could not afford or access medical care. With the rate of HIV high in the area, there are many ailments and secondary infections which affect people who do not have close access to a clinic.

15 home based care visits supplying medical supplies and food parcels. volunteers have assisted with cleaning of the homes, washing and collecting water
10 nutrition patients visited. We continued with giving each patient e-Pap and multi vitamins. We have been seeing steady weight gain.

  • 2018: Through the medical home-based care, nutrition and physiotherapy programmes, the Foundation was able to provide patients with vegetable gardens to improve their nutrition and health, emergency food parcels, exercise bands for physio, specific medication for conditions, and transportation to receive further treatment for which we could not assist.  This continued support together with local home-based carers and clinics, brings care, vital nutrition for recovery and in some instances, lifesaving support for people in rural areas who are very unwell.
  • 2019: Fundraising will continue to provide support and look at ways to improve the project.