Saving And Changing Lives Every Day: Project HOPE and Eli Lilly

Saving And Changing Lives Every Day: Project HOPE and Eli Lilly

11.28.12 | By Kaelan Hollon

Today we've got a special guest blog post from Dr. John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE. They're doing some pretty special work in South Africa on diabetes, and I encourage readers to check out their website to learn more.

Project HOPE Says Health Education Can Help Communities Win The Battle Against Diabetes and Other Chronic Diseases

On a recent visit to South Africa, I met a mother with a lovely bright smile who lives in Cosmo City, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. I learned how she had been shocked to find out that she was living with a ticking time bomb - high blood pressure. At 100 mmHg above a healthy reading, she was a prime candidate for stroke.

Sadly, her case is not unusual. So many of the people I have met, throughout Africa and in other developing countries, have never had health screenings for diabetes and blood pressure -- or cholesterol and body mass index, for that matter.

Thanks to a partnership between Project HOPE and Eli Lilly and Company, there was somewhere for this woman to turn - The HOPE Centre - where she received excellent counsel and health education, which may have saved her life.

At the HOPE Centre in Zandspruit, a township of more than 60,000 people living in extreme poverty, Project HOPE health care workers are bringing health information and education to people at risk of developing or living with diabetes and hypertension.

In sub-Saharan Africa, diabetes was once rare, but today it's estimated that more than 12 million people in the region have the disease. Many others are undiagnosed, and the epidemic is posing enormous challenges to health systems and threatening, as well, the economic promise of a region eager to develop as a center of foreign investment and social development.

Partnerships, like HOPE has enjoyed with Lilly for 53 years, can pave the way for health systems in need of sustainable means and methods of care for diabetes sufferers worldwide. Lilly's expertise and broad research capabilities are critically important to developing solutions for pressing global health challenges like diabetes. Through platforms such as the HOPE Centre, Project HOPE can offer its experience in increasing access to screening and diagnostic services, as well as in teaching diabetes prevention and disease management through broad-based support groups.

Throughout the developing world, the health challenges caused by chronic diseases are overwhelming, but I believe we - NGOs, like Project HOPE, working alongside the pharmaceutical community - can make a difference. I believe that together, we can answer the call for more diabetes educators to reach those still unfamiliar with how to recognize, treat and prevent this growing public health epidemic, which is currently putting communities, health systems and businesses at risk. For 54 years, Project HOPE has delivered health care, health education, medical training and humanitarian assistance to people who need it most - with the intent to help people help themselves.

Project HOPE alone cannot stop the burgeoning diabetes epidemic. We need partners like Lilly, Roche, Bayer, BD and others to put a halt to the spread of diabetes and to build stronger and healthier communities throughout the world.

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