Every day, Kenya’s palliative care nurses work tirelessly to provide care in the face of complex issues with a very limited workforce and resources. But these challenges are met with dedication and resilience, palliative care nurses doing everything they can to meet the needs of patients and families with holistic care. Nurse Alice from Malindi palliative care unit asked us to share the story of one of the families in her care.
“I am bewitched … why always me….all my children are going to die, what did I do to deserve such pain?” Agnes Baya cried painfully as she buried her eldest daughter, Faida. Nurse Alice consoled her next to her daughter’s coffin, allowing her to grieve, while her husband Mzee Baya looked on silently. This family has been devastated by cancer, HIV and poor health. Agnes lives with HIV, and Mzee was left disabled by a stroke. Both receive palliative care from Alice.
Alice came to know the family through Rehema, Agnes’ eldest daughter. At just 35 years old she had been referred to Malindi palliative care unit with advanced cervical cancer. She was in a lot of pain, wasted, anaemic and weak. Nurse Alice began visiting the family regularly at home. It was here Alice met Rehema’s sister Faida who was her main carer. Faida, also a widow, struggled to balance her small business selling fish with caring for her six children and her sister. With her many responsibilities caring for others she had neglected her own health, not keeping on top of her HIV medication. Nurse Alice assessed the complex needs and circumstances of the family, providing holistic care for all the family, including counselling for the children. Rehema died from cervical cancer in July 2021 and Faida died six months later.
The whole family lives in a poorly maintained house of mud and grass thatch, in the suburbs of Malindi. The only breadwinner now is the youngest son, 25 year old Rashid. As the only child who went to school he works as a hospital support worker earning less than 100 dollars a month. At night he works as a motorbike taxi driver to earn a little extra to support his family. Alice continues to provide care for the family.
“I always thank our partner, Hospice care Kenya, for their support. Because of this we can follow up this and more families, training and encouraging the care givers, offering bereavement support, managing symptoms and pain, and giving emotional and spiritual support. It gives me confidence and joy when I see the difference it makes.”
Alice Changawa, Palliative care nurse
Dedicated Kenyan palliative care nurses, like Alice, achieve so much with so little. But what they lack in resources they make up for in passion and commitment. Your help could make their job easier, enabling them to reach the patients that desperately need their care. This year we aim to raise over £75,000 to support hospices across Kenya to care for and support patients living with life-limiting illness, and their families.
£25 provides morphine and medicines for a patient at the end of life
£50 covers the cost of a day-care meeting to train patients and carers how to take care of their health
£100 covers the cost of transport and supplies for a hospice to carry out home visits over a week
Please help us to reach even more disadvantaged families in need of palliative care by DONATING HERE. Thank you