Doreen Madlalate, an oncology nurse at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, tells Pontsho Pilane about why she preaches the gospel of health to her fellow churchgoers.
“I have been attending the Methodist Church in Lombardy East since 1995 and for the past decade I’ve been promoting health awareness there. After a sermon at church I try to organise a small talk and invite anybody to come up with a health question that I can answer.
I give these kind of seminars every three months or so. They are allowed to ask me anything, even though I specialise in oncology. People often seek treatment after my talks, instead of being scared and avoiding treatment. Most of the people at church know I am a health professional, so they’ll take my advice because we see each other on a human level. It’s not like in hospital where they see me as a nurse. I am their neighbour, their fellow church member — they open up better than in the health facility.
Some will even wait after church and pull me aside to ask me questions they really wanted answers to. We always have prayer requests on our pew leaflets, telling us about our members who are in hospital or undergoing a surgical procedure. People are often scared and think of the worst, so when church ends I try to explain how the procedure works so that they are not too worried.
I am just an ordinary churchgoer. I realised that sometimes when people are sick they come to church to be prayed for. But even in church, they don’t get the healing or the treatment they thought they would get. People think just praying at church will help. Sometimes, it takes some encouragement and talking to someone to see the light.” — Health-e News