update on the big give christmas challenge 2020

Ephrem teaching palliative care in Ethiopia

Many of our supporters generously donated to our Big Give Project last December. £9,500 was raised to design a standardised palliative care training course that could be delivered across Ethiopia to a range of Health Care Professionals.

We started our project early in January 2021 but nonetheless have not been able to complete the project yet due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing difficult political situation in Ethiopia.

Ephrem Abathun (Director of Hospice Ethiopia) has worked with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and other stake holders to design the palliative care course and accompanying course material. This has been formally approved by the FMOH.

The training manual and accompanying material has now been printed. A zoom meeting is planned between Hospice Ethiopia, Hospice Ethiopia UK, and Palliative Care Works to take the project further.

 A pilot course is scheduled to be run in December 2021. Staff from the Simien Mountain Mobile Medical service will attend a 6 day course in Debark. It is hoped 2 trustees from Hospice Ethiopia UK will assist nurses from Hospice Ethiopia in delivering this training.

Following the pilot course, both the trainers and delegates will evaluate the course and adaptions will be  made accordingly, with help from the English charity, Palliative Care Works.

Many thanks again for your generous donations.

aisha’s story

Aisha* was a 40-year-old woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She was divorced and lived with her son and daughter. Her illness progressed rapidly and she developed a fungating breast wound. She refused all treatments for her cancer and preferred to use holy water. Aisha used to work as a prostitute but could no longer earn money this way. Her children worked as daily labourers but they did not earn enough to cover their daily living costs and their mother’s medical care costs.

 Aisha was distressed by her breast pain, fatigue, constipation, bed sore and her breast wound when the hospice team met her. She was also sad, anxious and ashamed of the odour from her breast wound

The Hospice Ethiopia team provided her with advice and medication for her pain and other symptoms. They cared for her wounds and provided wound care supplies such as gauze, cleaning solution and gloves along with a small monthly sum of money from the Comfort Fund. The nurse taught Aisha and her children how to care for her wounds at home. Furthermore, the nurse provided emotional support and reassured her that Hospice Ethiopia would keep providing the care to the end of her life. This care and support helped Aisha to have comfortable days, maintain her dignity and feel much better. Her symptoms were managed, the smell from the wound was controlled. Aisha died with dignity and relief a few weeks later.

*Not her real name

Patient Story: Seni

Seni (not her real name) was a 30 year old married woman who lived with her husband and four children in Addis Ababa. Following the diagnosis of cancer on her left jaw she underwent surgery. Unfortunately, the mass was exceptionally large, and left her face disfigured and she had difficulty eating and drinking. In addition, the wound became infected resulting in an unpleasant odour.

She received chemotherapy at the Black Lion Hospital, but her condition worsened with severe pain around the wound and headaches, resulting in poor sleep for both her and her husband.  She felt sad, hopeless, and unworthy and blamed herself for putting her family in such a difficult situation. She became depressed due to the unmanaged pain and believed her disease was a curse and lost hope; she wished God to take her life.

The Black Lion Hospital referred her to Hospice Ethiopia (HE) for palliative care. HE nurses and care givers started to visit Seni at her home on a regular basis. Her physical pain was controlled with medications. Regular wound care was carried out and Seni and her family were relieved when the bad wound odour subsided and she was no longer in pain.

Even though she was not cured from her illness and the cancer progressed, her living conditions were greatly improved as a result of the overall support from HE. Seni and her husband started to sleep better which they had not done for a long time. They were both grateful for all the treatment and support that Seni received from Hospice Ethiopia. Seni recently died due to the cancer, but she did so with dignity, peacefully, and without suffering.

upcoming talk, saturday 24th April

Do join us on Saturday 24th April at 4pm to meet Ephrem (Director of Hospice Ethiopia), Mahlet Bejiga (Ethiopian American) and Sue (Chair of HEUK). There will be a joint presentation and an opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. Please email info@hospicethiopia.org.uk for the link to join the session.

video tour of hospice ethiopia premises

Thank you to everyone who attended our AGM last week – it was good to see some new faces! Ephrem, Hospice Ethiopia’s director, filmed a couple of videos to share at the AGM, and you can see them here.

Ephrem talks about the vital work of Hospice Ethiopia

Ephrem gives a tour of the Hospice Ethiopia premises in Addis Ababa, and introduces some of the staff.

Ethiopian cookery evening

Very many thanks to all those who joined in with our Ethiopian cooking evening yesterday, which was a great success. Participants joined from around the world (as far away as Canada) to enjoy learning about traditional Ethiopian fare and how to cook some simple but authentic dishes. It was a very enjoyable evening with some impressive results. We are delighted that it raised over £415 to help fund the care the Hospice Ethiopia nurses provide. It was also great to team up with other small charities working in Ethiopia and to be able to benefit from Tigist’s expertise.

Screenshot from Zoom showing Sue and Tigist (in different kitchens), and a variety of dishes being prepared