The theme of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on the 8th October is Living and Dying in Pain – it doesn’t have to happen. People like Josie (not her real name) below who was helped by community health volunteers and a nurse from Kisumu Hospice who have all been funded by Hospice Care Kenya.
Josie was a women with two children in their early teens but her husband had died. The family were supportive and were helping to care for her. She had Aids, TB and cervical cancer (fast becoming the most common cancer in Kenya) and had been discharged from hospital because “there was nothing the hospital could do for her so she should go home to die.” She was lying in virtual darkness in one room of the two room house and was in severe pain as she had been given no pain relief by the hospital. The community health volunteers knew she had come home, though no-one knew officially and had therefore asked the Hospice to visit. By 4pm that evening the hospice nurse had gone back to the hospice, dispensed morphine and met up with the volunteer again so that she could deliver the morphine. The hospice provides morphine free of charge (through a Hospice Care Kenya grant) because otherwise patients would have to pay.