Monday, June 25, 2012

Providing health and dignity right to the last breath

Africa can be a tough place and, although the South African government has made progress in setting up clinics and primary healthcare facilities in many rural communities, the simple fact is, sometimes patients are just too ill to get to one of those facilities.
It is for this reason that Carryou Ministry operates an extensive home-based care program.
Teams of workers walk from home to home, caring for people who need physical and emotional support during their illness,” says Mzi Tshikitsha, Home-based care Programme Manager.
Part of the service we also provide is to be with patients during their final hours.”
Mzi Tshikitsha
It's an emotionally difficult job but it is both vital and rewarding.
The Home-Based Care program strives to achieve and maintain a high standard of palliative care that is both empathetic and offers dignity to all patients unable to access alternative medical care,” says Mzi.
We do this by carrying out basic but essential tasks like washing and feeding the patient, moving them to help prevent bed sores and ensuring he or she takes medication as prescribed.
In addition, Care workers also assist the patients' families by feeding the family, cleaning their houses, washing clothes and collecting water from community taps.
The Care workers are also trained to counsel children and adults, and as such, can offer emotional and spiritual counseling to patients and their families. They also ensure children are not exposed to traumatic situations,” he says.
But, as always, money needed to do the important work, is in short supply.
We do our best to provide food parcels for destitute families and orphans,” says Mzi.
Parcels include maize-based porridge, soup, sugar, salt, oil, beans, peanuts, matches and washing powder. Fortified nutritional meals are provided free of charge for individuals infected with HIV and those with compromised immune systems.
But, in truth, without the financial support we get from US-based, Sue Heywood and her supporters in the USA, we would not be able to supply many of these essential items.”
Yet, despite the difficulties, Carryou Ministry's Home-Based Care program still manages to make life easier for more than 250 people every month.
Their work has seen some Tuberculosis sufferers and patients on anti-retroviral drug programmes, recover enough to be able to return to work.
In addition, door to door awareness campaigns were conducted at 15 informal settlements where 200 000 male condoms and 16000 female condoms were distributed in an effort to help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
We are starting to see the message get out there,” says Mzi “and now people are starting to voluntarily disclose their HIV status – something that did not happen in the past.”

If you would like to help with this vitally important work please click the “How you can help” link on the right or contact us.

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