Neno District Hospital in partnership with Partners In Health (PIH), has engaged extra gear in their efforts to make sure that people suffering from life-threatening illness are well supported and their death is dignified, through palliative care.
The Palliative Care Clinic, a subsidiary at the district’s hospital, held a palliative care awareness campaign on Friday at Ligowe Primary School ground, where the community was challenged to assist and provide support to people suffering from incurable diseases like cancer, stroke, and HIV/AIDS.
Speaking at the event which was graced by Traditional Authority Mlauli, Neno District Health Officer, Dr. Lawrence Nazimera, told the gathering that everyone should shoulder a responsibility to improve the life of patients with serious illness by providing them with relief from the symptoms and stress.
Nazimera said that gone are the days when patients with serious illness would be left helpless and dying in pain, challenging the crowd that pain control should be taken as a humanitarian responsibility.
“I urge all of you who have gathered here to take a responsibility of supporting patients with serious illness- psychologically, socially and physically. As the health workers are working tirelessly to help the patients, it is imperative for the community to also take a role so as to make palliative care not a superfluous initiative.
“Life-threatening illnesses like cancer have been known to cause inexpressible suffering for both the patient and the care givers but with palliative care, the patients can breathe a sigh of relief and lead normal life,” said Nazimera.
Speaking to this reporter on the sidelines of the event, Neno Palliative Clinic coordinator, Paul Gondwe said, as developing countries are increasingly becoming the victims of incurable diseases, palliative care is the source of hope for the patients.
“Living and dying with incurable illness in poverty and pain is all too common in poor countries like Malawi because of minimal resources and huge shortages of health workers but with palliative care the pain which the patients with serious illness feel can be reduced. Palliative care is a responsibility for every person under the supervision of health personnel.
“In most cases the affected families feel helpless as they are left with no choice but to just watch the patient reach his or her end. However, with palliative care, we are assured that there is a way of improving the physical, emotional, psychosocial as well as spiritual wellbeing of patients and their families to alleviate the pain and facilitate a dignified end,” said Gondwe.
He added: “oftentimes people focus on the physical pain that a patient will be experiencing yet palliative care is a holistic approach that identifies and addresses the different types of pain brought about by the physical ailment.”
At the event, one of the victims of incurable diseases, James Wilo, gave a testimony before the crowd that he is now able to walk courtesy of palliative care.
He told the gathering that he had been using a wheelchair but with the coming of palliative care, he is now using a walking stick.
“I fell down with TB-Meningitis some years back. I could not walk and there was no hope that I would walk again. But with the support from Neno hospital health personnel led by Mr. Paul Gondwe through palliative care, I am now able to walk using a stick. I am very thankful for the support,” said Wilo.
Palliative care is a specialized medical care that relieves pain, smpytoms and stress caused by fatal illness. Palliative care can be traced back in 1948 when British doctor Dame Cicely Saunders fell in love with a polish patient who was dying of cancer and it has forty years of existence in Africa.
In Malawi palliative care started in 2002 at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Quech) while in Neno it started in 2011.The World Health Organization estimates that with proper palliative care, the suffering of more than 100 million people could have been prevented.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :