Meet just some of the dedicated Community Health Volunteers providing community palliative care across Kenya







Ann, Kajiado County Click here to read her story

Ann works as a Community Health Volunteer in her Maasai community of Kajiado County. Her service to her community is vital as there is no medical facility nearby. Community members, particularly men, are frequently away from the village finding pasture to graze their cattle, making access to health care for them an even bigger challenge. Ann is able to spot the signs of common diseases and cancer and make sure that people in her community know where to get help.

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Jane, Siaya County Click here to read her story

Elizabeth (left) was first brought to Siaya Hospice with suspected cervical cancer by her community health volunteer Jane (centre). Jane was first trained in palliative care in 2014. Jane supported Elizabeth through her diagnosis and treatment and cared for her at home. Four years on, Elizabeth is well enough to work in her small garden and grow crops to eat, and care for her great-grandson (right). Jane still visits regularly to check up on her.

I am happy because if it wasn’t for Jane who brought me to the hospice, and for Siaya Hospice who did the diagnosis, my cancer probably wouldn’t have been detected,” Elizabeth.

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Rehema, Kajiado County Click here to read her story

Rehema (pictured centre next to her patient in red and yellow) is a Community Health Volunteer in Olepetesi community, Kajiado County. Her isolated Maasai community is remote from any health services and rates of HIV and TB are high. Rehema was trained in palliative care in 2018, and her training focussed on providing care for people with TB and HIV, as well as cancer. Rehema works to raise health awareness in the community, giving talks after church services in communities across the county. She provides home-based palliative care but also ensures that HIV and TB patients follow their drug regime and follow-up clinic schedules. 

“My patient feels loved and now I help her at home she doesn’t have the challenge of getting to and from the hospital due to the distance and lack of transport so often. She reports much improvement and looks forward to a full recovery.”

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Grace, Kisumu County Click here to read her story

Grace on her way to visit Joseph at home

Grace (right) is a Community Health Volunteer in Kisumu County, western Kenya. Hospice Care Kenya supported her training in palliative care in early 2018. Grace has already put her training into practice. Joseph (left) lives in her village and when Grace heard he had been unwell she visited him. From her training she knew that his symptoms suggested cancer, so she referred him to Kisumu Hospice. Joseph was diagnosed with prostate cancer and started on hormone therapy. Grace visits Joseph every day to check on his health. Without her help his cancer would have remained undiagnosed as Joseph cannot afford to pay for a doctor. Grace’s care and free support from Kisumu Hospice have been a life-line for him.

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Alice and Leonard, Busia County Click here to read their story

Alice and Leonard have worked as Community Health Volunteers in rural Busia County for 15 years. They both provide basic health care to around 100 households, spending around 2 hours each day volunteering their time to visit patients. Their knowledge and the range of care they provide is broad, including diagnosing and prescribing treatment for malaria. In 2017 they took part in basic palliative care training. They now look out for possible cancer patients to refer to the hospice and each care for around 10 patients with chronic conditions in their homes. If a community member is ill they are the first port of call for health services.

“Many people fear the outcome when they are unwell and so don’t want to see a doctor, but they trust us. We spare two hours each day to look after patients. We spend a small amount of time helping them but we make a big difference.”

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Debra and Yuanita, Kisumu County Click here to read their story

The Community Health Volunteers of Airport area health centre, Kisumu.

Yuanita and Debra have been Community Health Volunteers for over 10 years, each looking after around 100 families. Trained in PC in June 2018.

“We have the challenge that many can’t get to the hospice, they are poor and can’t afford to travel to the hospice. With our training we can help the poor and the most needy, and we can assist them not to die from this disease, cancer”, Debra

“What motivates us is training. When you have knowledge, you can help people where it is needed, you are useful, and this is the most motivating thing”, Yuanita.

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That HCK is now enabling community health volunteers to extend the reach of palliative care in rural areas, looking out for people who might have cancer and supporting them, seems to be ground-breaking to me, and this appeal to fund Hospice Care Kenya thoroughly deserving of support.

BBC broadcaster Mike Wooldridge OBE explains why he is a long term supporter and patron of Hospice Care Kenya.