Barrydale’s Hospice for Health Initiative by Gillian Parenzee

Categories: Care and Community Engagement.

Our Hospice for Health Initiative is about deepened community care and engagement for education and awareness raising with practical solutions to address diabetes, hypertension, depression, substance abuse and nutrition.

This initiative sees us collaborating with other groups and organisations to bring engaging and informative workshops to our community to adddress the rising incidence of diabetes, hypertension, depression and substance abuse.

Our first Hospice for Health collaboration took place on 18 November, in commemoration of World Diabetes Day (14 November 2021). Diabetes is one of the lifestyle conditions on the rise among South African rural women and children. The Barrydale Hospice, together with the NGO Net vir Pret, is addressing this through practical community engagement.

Our two organisations are exploring a series of workshops to encourage lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes, hypertension, depression and substance abuse. Our focus for this collaboration was on nutrition, working with a group of marginalised women.

Our first workshop, focused on healthy cooking with a low-cost green energy solution, to address the high rate of energy poverty. The energy poverty and lack of healthy meals is exacerbated by frequent load shedding and the high cost of fresh healthy food. These factors contribute to a higher risk of poor health conditions that are preventable. Net vir Pret and the Barrydale Hospice addressed this need through an engaging and creative capacity building and information sharing.


An onsite diabetes and hypertension testing clinic was set up on the day, where the women could have individual consultation with Sr. Joana.

In our discussion with the women, we spoke about the challenges of adopting healthy choices in a rural setting and what some solutions could be. The discussion covered access to help and support for diet related health issues and the risks involved in not seeking treatment and changing behaviour. A hot topic on the day was the high cost of healthy food as it relates to poor diet choices.

Feedback from the workshop showed that the women most liked the the practical and simple solution driven nature of the workshop. They loved that they could discuss their health challenges with the nursing sister. Going forward, we will be building on the learning by teaching the group how to create their own cooking units.

We are grateful to the Barrydale, Heidelberg and Swellendam business community and individual community members, who were very supportive of the initiative, sponsoring the venue, food and the utensils used on the day.

Hospices can play an essential role in delivering integrated primary healthcare for disease prevention and treatment.

Barrydale Hospice is developing emerging community health & wellness projects under our Hospice for Health Programme.

We aim to bring about increased health access in our community. 

Our emerging projects will include community extension services, care and engagement with solutions to address diabetes, hypertension, mental health, substance abuse and nutrition.


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