Dietitian Themba Manzini’s personal insight into poverty means his patients know he can relate to them.
“Poor people don’t understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. I see a family of five buy five litres of cooking oil and finish it within a month – one litre per person – as they fry everything to improve the taste. We have a wave of type 2 diabetes mellitus in this area, as people don’t realise the impact of eating foods with a high sugar content. We visit local clinics and talk about diabetes, risk factors for heart attack, hypertension and more.” Themba also teaches his patients to save money by buying the right foods and eating only what their body requires, with food groups in balance. Cost-effective eating includes legumes, vegetables and even peanuts that are grown locally. “Poor people don’t mind what food or how much food they take in. All they want is to feel full. A poverty mindset does this,” he says.