One of the most difficult things 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 palliative care 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 manageable way.
Palliative care is not about prolonging life, but it is about improving the quality of life left.
About the Project
Sadly 86% of the world population do not have access to palliative care and many are unable to afford it. As a consequence, people die in horrendous states, often alone and abandoned by family who are unable to afford the care needed or give the full time support required due to facing their own levels of poverty and hardship.
Doctors Worldwide is currently working in Rwanda in collaboration with the very first and only community based palliative care organisation Al-Amal, to help support the scale up and delivery of palliative care for dying and destitute patients who without Al-Amal, would die a lonely and painful death. Al-Amal has been providing palliative care on a voluntary basis over the last 5 years through a group of dedicated and committed volunteers and medical workers based in Rwanda.
How are we helping?
DWW is providing long-term training support to 35 community based volunteer healthcare workers and medical personnel in palliative care, as well as supporting 30 families with healthcare including medical insurance, transportation to hospital appointments, monthly food packages for patients and their families, educational support for dependent children of terminally ill patients as well as respite. We are also providing financial support for Al-Amal to employ a qualified nurse to work full time with all the patients and their families. Currently Al-Amal are only able to provide palliative care during the weekends as most of the volunteers work full time or have families to take care of. The provision of a full time specialist nurse has meant that many patients and their families no longer have to wait until the weekend to get help especially when an emergency arises such as when medicines or food have ran out, therefore reducing the suffering as a result.
Doctors Worldwide will be delivering a variety of training to help Al-Amal and their team continue to develop and provide palliative care in a holistic and impactful manner. Our palliative care working group consists of Rwandan doctors and nurses, as well as UK healthcare workers who together work to build and develop the training aspect of the project and provide 1-1 mentoring to bring palliative care into the forefront of Rwandan community health.
The collaboration is being supported by the Ministry of Health of Rwanda who has recently entered into an agreement to help support the programme over the next 5 years.