The whole idea of the Hospice is to look after terminally ill patients with diseases like Cancer, HIV, TB and other ailments where they suffer pain. He maintained that they have trained nurses and medical doctors to care for such patients.
Gabriel Madiye explained that we must hold our leaders, our health system and ourselves to account for the care of those living with life-limiting illnesses. He mentioned that households with people with life-limiting illnesses may face high costs and potential financial hardship for treatment. In some cases these people are the income earners in the family and this apparent loss of income creates all sorts of problems for the home. He disclosed that 40 million people worldwide need palliative care annually including 20 million at the end of their lives, but only 14% of these are being met. Overall, 78% of these people live in low and middle income countries.
Dr. Lois Hong, in her presentation described the various ways in which society can help to alleviate the sufferings of people. She maintained that there are resources available to deal with such patients namely physical, social, psychological and spiritual. In the physical area there is the need to bring people to the centre for treatment where they get medication. She maintained that the Hospice has an in-patient facility to house patients where they undergo treatment. Some of these patients have lost hope of ever living normal lives. Whilst the Hospice cannot guarantee to bring an about face turn of the situation of patients, they offer hope for them by the kind of care they receive, which further maintains them for the rest of their days in the world. She explained that many suffer emotional pain due to abandonment and stigma. She maintained that many patients are taken to herbalists, who should be in the Hospice where they will be cared for and counseled. Shepherd Hospice, she added, is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention & relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychological and spiritual.
Ousman, a man in a wheel chair testified how he has been able to recover from an illness which saw him visiting several herbalists but to no avail. He maintained that he has received treatment from the Hospice which has improved his situation. Now though in a wheel chair he will be able to start work this week as he is a mechanic. He advised people to bring people with serious pain to the Hospice early as it will enhance their chances of recovery. A short drama was performed by Hospice staff and the audience admonished to let the public know that they can come to the centre with those with terminal illnesses and pain. The Hospice can do home-based care, where patients will be visited at home and treatment given on a regular basis. They also have an out-patient section where patients can be brought regularly for treatment and taken back home.
Present at the commemoration ceremony were the CHO, Abdulai Alpha who is working with the Macdonald community, Dr. Mary Bunn, Dr. Charles of Connaught Hospital in Freetown and a host of other dignitaries.