Speaking during the fundraising dinner, Nyeri Hospice Board Vice Chairperson Mrs. Mary Mutonyi said that this was one of their annual fundraising events where they engage the community to support their work at the Hospice.
Mrs. Mutonyi said that there are a lot of people from Nyeri in Nairobi who do not know that they have a valuable organisation for the terminally ill that they can support and the dinner was one way of advocacy and raising awareness.
She said that as a result of donor fatigue, the Hospice is in the process of coming up with an Income Generating Activity (IGA) to help them have a regular source of fund.
“Most patients seen at Nyeri Hospice cannot even afford drugs as chronic illness medication is quite expensive hence the need to fundraise and make these drugs affordable to them,” said Mrs. Mutonyi.
The Vice Chairperson said that proper structures have been put in place to ensure every coin donated is used towards the benefit of the patients.
Giving a highlight of hospice care, the Hospice Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Saraphina Gichohi said that before the hospice was founded in 1995, patients whose conditions were advanced and no longer manageable in hospitals were discharged to go and spend their last days at home.
As a result, Saraphina said that patients became devastated and the family did not know where to start in managing their pain and other symptoms due to their condition.
“Since establishment of the hospice, patients have found a home where their counseling needs are taken care of and the family is helped to cope and take care of the sick,” said Saraphina.
The Hospice CEO said that they take care of patients in a holistic way using a multidisciplinary team approach.
She told those present to spread word that the community has a responsibility of supporting hospices for they are community owned centers.
“We rely on donations from well wishers as well as from our fundraising activities which include an annual charity walk and an annual charity golf tournament,” she said.
Saraphina added that funds from friends of the hospice help a lot in meeting the budgetary allocations at the Hospice.
“We appeal for any donations in kind which include but not limited to medicine and foodstuff to help enable us offer an environment where comfort is there and is there always,” she said.
She thanked all volunteers who spare their time to support them at the Hospice adding that they are key in the day to day operations of the hospice.
Speaking at the same function, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) Executive Director Dr Zipporah Ali said that hospices belong to the community and was happy to see those present ready to support Nyeri Hospice.
“It is us the community to support these hospices. It is about community involvement and teamwork,” said Dr Ali.
She said that KEHPCA is partnering with the Ministry of Health to integrate palliative care in the health system to ensure palliative care services are available in government hospitals.
“We are working towards ensuring that every nurse and doctor graduating has knowledge in and understands palliative care,” she said.
She added that some hospices have closed because the community failed to support their cause and this should not be allowed to happen anymore.
Dr Ali said that most patients attended to by hospices have cancer but this does not mean palliative care is limited to cancer patients. “Any patient with a life limiting or life threatening illness deserves palliative care.”
“We cannot ignore patients’ financial problems. They have spent their money trying to seek treatment and each one of us need to support them once they come to our hospices,” she said.
Dr Ali officially launched this year’s Nyeri Hospice Annual Fundraising Walk to be held on 20th September 2014 at Dedan Kimathi Stadium (view location) in Nyeri County starting at 9 am.
Nyeri hospice is mentoring palliative care teams at Muranga, Karatina Thika, Kirinyaga, and Nanyuki as support towards reaching out to more patients in need of palliative.