Mother Teresa once said, “It is not how much we do but how much love we put in doing, It is not how much we give but how much love we put in giving.”There is no better joy and satisfaction knowing that that you helped someone who really needs it.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) Kenya, estimates there are 38,000 new cancer patients every year. Over 80% of these patients present with advanced illness and are candidates for palliative care. In Kenya, Non-communicable diseases account for more than 50% of total hospital admissions and over 55% of hospital deaths. Clearly, there is a great need to prioritize palliative care and pain relief in Kenya.
This is where Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) comes in. This is because it is the umbrella body for hospice and palliative care in Kenya and works on the efforts to relieve pain and suffering of patients with life threatening illnesses. These include conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS and other difficult to cure illnesses.
KEHPCA was privileged to visit Nairobi Hospice where the team interacted with patients during their daycare meetings that happen every Thursday of the week. The main agenda was a follow up of the patients on how they are fairing on and if they had any issues.
Amongst the issues were; John (not his real name) who has been battling with skin cancer and is also a musician, wanted help in recording and releasing of his songs so that he can improve his life and get funds for treatment.
Mary (not her real name) who battled breast cancer has legal issues concerning her deceased sister’s birth certificate. Unfortunately the brother-in-law is withholding the certificate and is refusing with it. The certificate is required to get funds that would allow her niece to go to school .Mary is unable to educate her niece due to the fact that she is unemployed and can barely get ends meet including feed both of them and procure pain medicine for herself. Despite all the struggles they go through, the patients can afford to smile and are grateful to the hospice for always being there for them. The patients are also thankful to the individuals and organizations that have supported the hospice over the years. They consider each other as a family and occasionally make handbags and mats for sale.
Mrs. Were, the chief executive officer of Nairobi hospice gave the patients donated items that were brought by a well wisher. The items included soap, rice, beans, cooking oil and a packet of maize flour to take home. They were later welcomed for lunch.
Ms. Alice Bacia, the hospice Public Relations/Funds Development Officer talked about the services they offer, one of them being home visits. She also stated that they offer services during off hours and on public holidays.
Hospices are great respite centers for patients and families faced with difficult to cure conditions and it is KEHPCA’s hope that they continue offering quality services.