Farewell Noy, farewell A4C

Sadly Noy Pullen passed away in February 2023, we look at all she achieved with the DSA project: Agents For Change.

When did Agents for Change start?

Agents for Change (A4C) began in 2007. The World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) began financially supporting Agents for Change in 2008.

In June 2015, Martin Wolf Andersen and Susanne Olejas from WDF Denmark, attended Agents for Change seminars in Western Cape and North West Province during a field visit.

Aim and the mission of A4C

Diabetes is a huge problem in South Africa (SA) and worldwide. There are over four million people diagnosed with diabetes in SA. The International Diabetes Federation reports that 50% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed worldwide.

Lack of trained healthcare providers in diabetes in SA is the most critical issue impeding the delivery of high-quality diabetes care. The aim of A4C is to train healthcare providers and other healthcare practitioners in diabetes in all provinces, including rural areas.

The programme creates awareness about the importance of lifestyle change when living with diabetes and reducing the risk of getting it.  Participants attend intensive two-day workshops, six months apart, where they learn about diabetes, how to manage it and prevent complications. They are also taught communication skills so that they can empower people living with diabetes for self-management. To do this, they are encouraged to change their own behaviour for better health.

In 2006, Noy Pullen relocated to Cape Town from Johannesburg where she met Buyelwa Majikela-Dlangamandla who was then a diabetes educator at Groote Schuur Hospital. They worked together on this project (A4C) through DSA since 2007 until January 2022.

Noy was also the editor of Diabetes Focus for many years. She had interest in diabetes and helping people as she had a family member with diabetes.

What are the greatest achievements for A4C?

The greatest achievements of A4C were training more than 2 000 healthcare providers. The majority of participants managed to change their own lifestyle, such as eating healthily, losing weight and doing physical activity.

Some of them started vegetable gardens. A4C supported them by providing them with tools, such as seeds, skipping ropes, measuring tapes, information booklets, etc.

During all trainings, A4C did practical food demonstrations, and everybody helped. Many said they thought that healthy eating was boring, but said they enjoyed the food during training and changed the way they prepared food at their homes.

A4C was recognised by the South African Department of Health and the trained healthcare workers reached more than 100 thousand people in the country.

What was Noy Pullen known best for?

Noy loved colour. Although she had a teaching qualification, she stopped teaching many years ago. She was also a make-up artist. Noy was an excellent article writer, interviewing people and writing their stories. She was a spiritual person who loved her family and was good at uniting them. She was a coach and teacher and encouraged people to be themselves and do their best.

How did she impact A4C?

A4C would never be the same without Noy. Her guidance helped and encouraged Buyelwa to use the guiding style of teaching rather than the old way of directive teaching. Noy had great influence and encouraged Buyelwa to write a diabetes book. She was accurate with bookkeeping and writing up of reports including financial reports to the sponsors.

A4C project stopped

Unfortunately, due to the sponsor stopping their financial support of A4C, the last A4C training was in January 2022.

Farewell Noy and farewell A4C; may your soul rest in eternal peace.


Agents for change WDF08-378 (project description)

Agents for change WDF11-590 (project description)

Agents for change WDF14-876 (project description)

Agents for Change: champions in the fight against diabetes in South Africa (Diabetes Voice, June 2009 | Volume 54 | Issue 2) http://www.idf.org/sites/default/files/attachments/2009_2_Pullen.pdf

HRH Strategy for the Health Sector: 2012 to 2017 (pdf) (http://www.ahp.org.za/files/1896/HRH%20Strategy%202012%20to%202017.pdf)