Education is Key to Empowering

Categories: People & Places.

Today we meet Sanet Marks, CPL (Centre of Palliative Learning) manager for St Francis Hospice which is the only training centre in the Eastern Cape.

Before starting at Hospice, she worked at a Primary Health Care facility for the past 15 years. She was part of the first pilot rollout of ARV’s which started in 2004 and part of her responsibilities included diagnosing, assessing, monitoring and dispensing ARV’s to patients. Sanet would see up to 50 patients a day which was referred by local clinics and hospitals. One of the biggest challenges working within the Primary Health Care facility was the stigma within the community. “People would often see the link when patients came to see me as I was mainly responsible for dispensing ARV’s”. “This stigma soon disappeared as they knew I was here to help people and gained their trust. She added.

How did you end up at Hospice?

I never thought I would end up being an educator at hospice. It wasn’t part of my goals or my plans. Working with people who were about to die was one of my biggest fears and never wanted to be associated with it but God has wonderful ways of turning things around and look at me now, 5 years later.

Through a neighbour I was informed that the current educator at St Francis was leaving and there could be an opportunity for me. One of the requirements was education experience which I did not have but decided to apply anyway. In the interview I was told that I did not match the minimum requirements and I left it at that. St Francis found it difficult to appoint any of the candidates as they had the qualifications but not the personality. I was then asked to come in for another interview and the next day I got the job. Hospice was so kind to me from day one and payed for my education course and at the same time did a short course in palliative care. Since then it has been a wonderful experience.

Most of the training I do is on request or by word of mouth. Growing up on a farm with Xhosa speaking people has helped me to confidently speak to people in their own language. Most times when I open my mouth and speak the same language they do, the reaction is priceless. In my opinion, one of the reasons for some of the problems within the health care system is the lack of education. People don’t understand how the body works. The more we can educate people, the better our health care system can be.

Find out how you can make a difference and get involved here.