Monday, May 11, 2009

Why Are We Here? Project HOPE in South Africa

Last week my wife had a baby girl called Hannah. We now have a 2yr old son called Sam and Hannah. Travelling back and forth to the hospital I got thinking about the contrasts in healthcare available here in South Africa. We are very fortunate through Project HOPE to have medical insurance. This meant that Jenni got to see an excellent OB/GYN, and have the C-Section in a very modern, well equipped hospital, no different to any public/private hospital in the UK or US.

Contrast this with Munsieville where we are working – a tiny clinic with 1 doctor and 3 nurses covering a population size of 50,000+ people. A pregnant woman there does not have the same excellent health care facilities that the private hospital afforded us. Yet, is not her child’s life just a valuable as my own Hannah’s or Sam’s? Shouldn’t everyone have the same access to excellent care when needed, or should it be dependent on one's economic status?

HOPE stands for “Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.” That’s why we are here. We believe that everyone regardless of race, economic status, sex, should have access to good quality healthcare. Sure, the problem is too big for us to solve alone, but I don’t look at the problem. Many people focus on the problem, get discouraged and walk away. I look at the family that lives in a shack, who face unimaginable hardship, and I do my best to give them HOPE.

We are not going to save the world overnight, but one family at a time, bit by bit, we seek to empower people here in South Africa so that they live healthier lifestyles, and when in need of a doctor or a nurse, they have the knowledge and the resources to access them. Why? Because life is a great gift, and whether you live in a suburb in the western world, or a shack in Munsieville you deserve HOPE.

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