11 June 2018

South Africa: Plates Over Pills - an Alternative Way of Eating for Better Health


After seeing lifestyle diseases sweep through South African society, medical doctor Tracy Mavhungu Nelwamondo is now using indigenous African grains, seeds, fruits and vegetables to treat her patients.

As a young doctor in Sebokeng hospital, Tracy Mavhungu Nelwamondo was taught how to treat patients with "respect and love", despite the limited resources.

"I learned so much in that hospital, but I kept seeing the same problems again and again - obesity, diabetes, hypertension."

Doctors would prescribe more and more medication, and then refer the patients to a dietician. Tablets would soon become insulin, but eventually patients would end up in ICU, either for amputations or because they had fallen into diabetic comas.

Over five years at the hospital, Nelwamondo saw about 20-30% of her patients move from the initial stage of diabetes diagnosis to amputation, which is not unique to Sebokeng hospital.

In an earlier interview with Professor Thifheli Luvhengo, the Head of Surgery at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, it was revealed that 60% to 70% of surgical patients are diabetic. Across the country, there are 10,000 new diabetes cases diagnosed every month and diabetes is now the biggest killer of women. This is inextricably tied...

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