Greetings from the shores of Lake Victoria.
Many of you will have been involved in World Hospice and Palliative Care Day events across the globe. This year we joined together to promote palliative care and pain treatment as a human right. Please see the World Day website and the Cairdeas website for more information. Cairdeas had three main opportunities to share this message; a stall at the annual meeting of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, the honour of a Civic Reception hosted by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen and an opportunity to address a cross-parliamentary group on palliative care and development at the Scottish parliament. Our thanks to all who helped make these events possible as we join our voice with those who often have no voice yet whose need is overwhelming; and addressing this need is offers both justice and compassion. Let us pray that the Declaration on Palliative care and Pain Treatment as a Human Right signed by so many will have an impact.
These past few months I have been in the UK meeting many colleagues and friends, working for a few weeks at Fairhavens Hospice in Southend(my thanks for your very warm welcome), taking part in planning meetings and supporting my family during my Mum's recent serious illness.
The focus of planning has been the new developments in Uganda and the exciting yet daunting challenges for us as we seek to work alongside our Ugandan colleagues to develop palliative care at Mulago Hospital. I will be telling you more in my subsequent BLOG posts but let our latest Cairdeas Consultant, Richard Gamblin, give you an introduction;
'Even after a lifetime in palliative care nothing prepared me to meet so many young people dying with AIDS and cancer. The four Mulago nurses scale of work is enormous; with so many sick patients who could benefit from their care. In the UK we take for granted so much. Patients in Mulago are not provided with bed linen, pillows, food or fresh water. Some wards have up to 40 beds another 40 patients lying on mats on the floor. The doctors and nurses are overworked and most care is provided by family members. Yet the nurses have achieved a lot by simple measures such as prescribing and administering morphine.' Richard was struck by both the very real physical needs but also the social burdens for children taking on parental roles (such as Hannah you see here, whose mother is dying), familes with little enough money for food let alone medical treatments, paucity of pain relief yet too was amazed by the warmth, dedication, faith and hope of patients and staff. In my next BLOG I will take you with my on a ward round to meet colleagues and patients at Mulago. Join me very soon and meanwhile please continue to support and to pray for us.