Greetings from the 'Pearl of Africa' It is good to be back and to have such a warm welcome from Dr Anne Merriman and the staff at hospice Africa Uganda. This was one of the early palliative care services in Africa (1993) and sought to provide a model for cost effective care in this continent, as well as offer care to Ugandans. (see BLOG 11/10/06) One of their objectives is also to support palliative care in other African countries; and this is done by education and training support as well as exchange visits. Here you see Dr Anne with 2 nurse colleagues (Funmi and Kuye) from Ibaden in Nigeria. They have a very new palliative care programme and are receiving support and training from Hospice Africa. It was so encouraging to attend a Palliative Care Association of Uganda update and see how much has been achieved since 1993. I have been doing some teaching at the Hospice as well as exploring future ways Cairdeas can offer support.
Let me take you to meet a lady we visited with the Jinja Hospice team. Perpetua lives in a rural setting with her family. You can see her young grandson outside the 'kitchen'. She has been ill for some time and had a miserable experience of uncontrolled pain and expensive visits to hospital with little benefit. With the support of the Hospice team; who can assess and prescribe free drugs including oral morphine; her pain is under control and she is happy to be at home. She wanted to pray for us as she felt God had sent us to help her and give her family support. Here she is reading some verses from her bible and giving thanks for all the help she has received. It is good to be reminded of our core values and purpose in palliative care and to consider the many many people who are not able to access the help that they need.
I hope to visit one of the other sites for Hospice Africa this week so will tell you more of life in Uganda in my next BLOG.
Highlights so far have been many but include a very African church service led by a famous children's choir, Watoto, who are all orphans (many as a result of HIV/AIDS). Dr's Peter and Trish Kiehlmann were also with me on a visit from Aberdeen - small world?