The story about a doctor and diabetics.

Name: Dr Hennie Nortje

Speciality: Diabetologist

Area of specialisation: Diabetes Mellitus and associated metabolic syndrome 

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Johannesburg, February – Dr Hennie Nortje is passionate about helping people, not just in his professional career, but also in his personal capacity. Hence, when he heard about a medical volunteer programme in the middle of the bushveld, he knew he had to go.

“The mission of Tshemba is empowerment. I only spent one week at Tshemba, but it was an experience that touched me deeply.” Dr Nortje’s visit was welcomed by all and highly successful, as diabetes and nontransferable diseases are a crux within rural communities. Oftentimes, these diseases go unnoticed and untreated due to limited medical staff and equipment as well as lack of patient and practitioner knowledge.

During his visit, Dr Nortje discussed clinical cases, presented lectures to the Clinical Associate Students, and identified personnel to be trained as diabetes educators. He was able, through the sponsorship of the CDE Foundation, to send Mrs Mara Khosa, a dietician at Tintswalo Hospital, and Mrs Kgomotso Khosa, a nursing sister at Hlokomela Clinic, to Johannesburg to attend the advanced diabetes education course.

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But this is not where Dr Nortje’s assistance ended. He continues to provide off-site support and played a crucial role in organising an AccuCheck active meter for a 5-year-old suffering from diabetes, which was delivered within 24-hours, as well as an additional twenty meters for Tintswalo Hospital.

“Although the staff is completely overwhelmed by the amount of work, they are hungry for knowledge and incredibly friendly. Even the patients are humble, friendly and unbelievably grateful. The whole experience left me in awe. I am thrilled to return, not only because of the lavish accommodation and the breathtakingly beautiful lowveld but also to continue working with the amazing people that are so desperate to learn and care for those in need.”

Dr Nortje and his wife will return in March; “I’m excited to see how the new diabetic educators are doing and my wife is keen to be involved in teaching at the preschool at Hlokomela.” When asked why medical professionals should participate in the Tshemba Foundation, he replied: “To quote Godfrey Phillips, a Tshemba Foundation director; Hennie, remember, whatever you do here will make a difference.

Join Dr Nortje on the journey to make a difference in people’s lives who are in such need of medical care. Call +27 (64) 507 5527 or visit www.tshembafoundation.org to find out more about the Tshemba Foundation.