Nine hundred patients, six staff members, forty-two volunteers, a catchment area spanning hundreds of miles, rough terrain, life expectancy of 48 years, the ravages of HIV in the community!
These were some of the shocking things we learned from listening to our hospice partners from Tanzania in April.
From April 14 through April 28, Gilchrist Hospice Care and GBMC were privileged to host 3 members of the Palliative Care team from Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania for an educational exchange. Gilchrist Hospice Care has been in partnership with Nkoaranga since 2009 through the encouragement of the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa (FHSSA), a division of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Our goal has been to support Nkoaranga in their efforts to provide end of life care in Tanzania.
Their mission is inspiring – To achieve universal pain and symptom relief in all HIV and cancer patients and relief of life threatening conditions by creating a unified effort by all healthcare providers to ensure holistic and comprehensive palliative care throughout the district , providing a support system for patients and their families wherever they may be. As well as promoting the universal understanding on end-of-life issues maintaining the ethical principles of medicine while upholding human dignity.
We were awed by their compassion, persistence and commitment to providing this care despite severely limited resources.
We were also amazed to learn that they have no ambulance to transport patients to the hospital, only two “oxygen machines” in their entire hospital for 100 beds and the operating room, and no building or even examining rooms to treat palliative care patients.
So what did we learn? Gratitude for all we have. Humility. A renewed desire to help. We are proud to say that since 2009, Gilchrist Hospice Care and the GBMC community have raised over $180,000 toward the operating costs of Nkoaranga’s program. Yet there is so much to do – an ambulance, a palliative care building, supplies for the children’s program, and so much more.
To learn how you can help, please contact Robin Stocksdale at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-849-8283.
To quote our friends from Nkoaranga – “Caring is curing!”