Case Study / Climate Change / Medical Debt Relief / Palliative Care

Climate Change: Are We Losing This Race?

09/20/2022 2:56pm

So far, summer 2022 has been nothing short of a wake up call for the world’s view on climate change. With record-breaking temperatures, catastrophic floods and overall shifts in weather patterns, the environment we have all respectively become accustomed to throughout our lives  is slowly changing, becoming more  erratic, unpredictable and dangerous. If we were in a race against climate change, we would be losing, and in the process, we are allowing these forces to become bigger and stronger by the day. 

The  impacts of climate change do not discriminate based on social classes, access to resources, or amount of contribution to global warming  –  it spares no-one.  However, the magnitude, timing and the capacity  to cope with these impacts vary. For example, under-resourced countries such as the ones we work in including Malawi, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been facing the brunt of extreme weather changes over the past few months, experiencing  heat waves and thunderstorms, which have resulted in drought and flooding. Such  countries  already face a gap in resources (i.e, food, clean water, shelter and healthcare) required  to survive, and this gap is only widening as a result of the impact of climate change.

At Doctors Worldwide, through our project work, we regularly meet vulnerable communities and patients whose lives have been affected by the impact of global warming on access to healthcare and resources:

The story of Patuma and Alidi 

My labour pains started at midnight and my husband was so scared since it was our first baby. He rushed to tell my mother. She told my husband, Joseph, to put me on a bicycle, which was already on standby, and head to the hospital.

On our way to the hospital, we met some people who were coming from the beer hole. We became scared and because of my condition, we decided to face them and explained our story – that we were rushing to the hospital for delivery. The men then decided to escort us to the Health Centre. My condition became worse when it started to rain and it was cold. One of the men who joined us had a raincoat which he gave me and we had to seek shelter in the nearby village until the rain became less heavy. When the rain stopped, we continued our journey to the Health Centre. When we reached the Health Centre, I was almost ready for the delivery, the nurses were also busy helping the other women in the labour ward so there was nobody to attend to me. Just after ten minutes, labour started and I was assisted by Hospital Maids and I delivered a baby boy. Fortunately, we both survived.”

The story of Eshe & Firdaws

Two sisters, Eshe and Firdaws, are both receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV, whilst Eshe is also bed-bound with cancer. Living in a 2-room, old house with poor sanitation, their risk of infection is increased, becoming a serious threat to life due to their HIV diagnosis. They do not even have a bathroom facility, due to its destruction by heavy rain. With your generous donations, we were able to build a new bathroom facility for them, reducing their risk of infection.

Both these stories are stark reminders of how harsh weather conditions have already affected the lives of people like Patuma, Alidi, Eshe and Firdaws. Imagine how many more lives will be at stake with the rise of even more climate induced floods, heatwaves and droughts? 

How is DWW helping?

Medical Debt Relief:

One of the key projects we work on that helps directly fight against the impacts of climate change is our Medical Debt Relief Project (MDRP). Healthcare is an unaffordable reality in the homes of many across  Malawi and Rwanda, meaning  most families, even in the case of emergencies, have little to no money to pay for health insurance , let alone to cover medical bills. Consequently, many people, especially women and children, die from undiagnosed and untreated diseases, sometimes as easily preventable as diarrhoea. Many patients are also detained at hospitals, unable to pay medical bills as little as £5 after receiving treatment. 

In the case of Patuma and Alidi, your donations helped us cover the cost of Patuma’s medical bills leaving her debt-free, whilst providing the quality healthcare she needed to avoid the birthing complications she could have had due to her challenging journey to the healthcare clinic. 

Palliative Care:

One of the most difficult situations to face in life is to know that you are dying and that you do not have much time left. It is even more difficult if you are suffering in great pain, unable to move or help yourself. This is where our Palliative Care Project comes in; to support and help people who are at the end of their life by providing care and relief in the most dignifying and pain free way possible. Palliative care is not about prolonging life, but it is about improving the quality of life left. 

In the case of Eshe and Fidaws, our Palliative Care Project was able to provide them with a new bathroom. Our project also provides a holistic package of care to all patients in need, including nutritious food, clean water, medication etc

How can you help?

Your donations to our Palliative Care and Medical Debt Relief projects are already helping people like Patuma, Alidi, Eshe and Firdaws. However, with the impact of climate change increasing the number of those in need of basic resources and healthcare support, we need you. Help support our work this summer to ensure that we are able to serve communities in need to tackle climate change induced weather conditions and access the care they need. 

Learn More: Summer Campaign 

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