January update

Compassionate Art talk

We were delighted with the response to Nick’s fascinating talk on Compassionate Art last Monday. From Rembrandt to press photographs we were treated to an interesting evening about the different ways various artists have depicted compassion.

Thank you to all the donors whose compassion has raised over £725 to help fund the nurses of Hospice Ethiopia to deliver palliative care to those dying in Ethiopia.  

Initiators Couse

We are delighted that Nurse Kakidan has gained a place on the prestigious Palliative Care Initiators course run by Hospice Africa Uganda. Hospice Ethiopia’s Education Fund has funded her place and will provide support for her learning.

The course provides health professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to implement sustainable and high standard palliative care services and to advocate their governments and other key stakeholders. It also bonds palliative care specialists from various countries together, in such a way that they learn from their countries’ different challenges and achievements.

Nurse Kalkidan outside a patient’s home in Addis Ababa

Patient story: MS

Hospice Ethiopia cares for patients like M S who is a 55-year-old lady who lives in a very low cost ‘Kebele’ (government subsidised) house with her sister. She sought medical help at a private health centre when she developed symptoms of a constant headache and visual disturbances. The doctors diagnosed a brain tumour with an abnormal build-up of fluid in her abdomen. Subsequently she suffered from a stroke leaving her paralysed.

MS was referred to Hospice Ethiopia to manage her symptoms. Initially she was unconscious due to a stroke, had a tube via her nose to allow the intake of food and medication and had a sacral bed sore. The team treated her pain and wound with basic medications. They also provided her with other medical supplies such as a urinary catheter, pads, gauze and wet wipes. Until the trained Hospice Ethiopia nurses started their support, MS was cared for at home by her sister so the team provided her sister with basic information on how to take care of her. She appreciates their support and says “I was lonely in supporting my sister before you came to see her. I was buying medications and was paying for wound care from the little money I had. Now you are doing it freely with dedication and happiness. I am grateful for your service and always thank you.”

MS and her sister have encountered serious financial hardship due to MS’ illness, as they have no daily income, so they receive the Comfort Fund from Hospice Ethiopia.

Talk on compassionate art

Dear Supporters,

We are thrilled to be able to extend an invitation to you to sit back, relax and be inspired by artists demonstrating compassion in a variety of media. Rev Dr Nick Garrard is Bishop’s Officer for Christian Spirituality through the Creative Arts in Norwich Diocese. He has kindly offered to give this talk on behalf of Hospice Ethiopia UK to raise funds in what has been a very difficult time for fundraising.
Nick will introduce the concept of compassionate art through some famous and lesser-known examples, in which artists have provided inspiration, protest, reflection or transformation, expressed grief or offered hope.
To register, please phone 01508 538014 or send an e-mail via this page. A Zoom link to the online talk will be sent to your email inbox. Admission is free but donations warmly welcomed via our website http://www.hospiceethiopia.org.uk

We look forward to seeing you on Monday 18th January at 7pm.

Patient Profile: subira

Our fundraising is used to care for people like Subira (not her real name) in Addis Ababa. Subira  is a 49 year old Muslim lady with a carcinoma affecting her left eye, which was diagnosed 2 years ago. She has been HIV positive for 19 years. Prior to the diagnosis she noted a discolouration around her upper nose. The Health Centre referred her to the Black Lion Hospital (BLH), where she underwent surgery and subsequently received 6 cycles of chemotherapy and 6 radiotherapy treatments. She now has no sight in her left eye.

She is a widow and lives with her 2 daughters and son. Her eldest daughter used to work in Saudi Arabia, until she developed renal problems and was sent back to Ethiopia. Her younger daughter is still at school but is HIV positive. Her son earns very little doing menial jobs. She receives support from the Comfort Fund.

Her first visit from an HE nurse was on 15/4/19. She complained of swallowing problems and had an oozing wound on the left side of her neck. The nurses also wondered if she had developed a fistula (an abnormal opening) as the oozing was worse when she drank fluid. Her eye had a crusty discharge which had become more painful 3 weeks earlier, when her father had died as she had been very weepy.

Director’s Update on Violence in Northern Ethiopia

The latest reports from Northern Ethiopia are extremely concerning – over the past few weeks, tensions in the region of Tigray have escalated and there have been reports of violent clashes between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Throughout the crisis, we’ve been able to maintain our regular communications with the Director at Hospice Ethiopia, Ephrem Abathun.

Tigrary, Ethiopia. (c) OpenStreetMap

Hospice Ethiopia does not operate any care programmes in the northern Tigray region, and Ephrem reports that local work by the hospice in Addis Ababa is not directly impacted by the fighting in the north.

The situation is serious, but the government is striving to handle the operation with as much care as possible to avoid damage and effects to the Tigray people.

Ephrem Abathun, Executive Director of Hospice Ethiopia

With phone and internet restrictions in Tigray it is difficult to get updates directly from the affected areas, however, our partner, Ethiopiaid, describes how casualties are being treated in the Afar region, to the east of Tigray. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports that medical supplies are running out in hospitals in Mekelle.

Hospice Ethiopia continues to run its programmes in Addis Ababa, as far as ongoing virus restrictions allow, and we hope that hostilities will end quickly.

All of the people of Ethiopia are in our thoughts,


Sue Mumford
Chair, Hospice Ethiopia UK

Quartely reports from hospice Ethiopia

The trustees of Hospice Ethiopia UK receive quarterly reports from the staff of Hospice Ethiopia. They report on a range of activities undertaken by the Hospice which helps us monitor the way the funds we send them are spent as well as helping us to understand the challenges they face.

The recent report records that they are supporting 85 patients through their home-base care programme. This is slightly fewer than in the previous quarter as fewer referrals have been received. The Director thinks this is probably due to fewer patients presenting at hospital as they are worried about leaving their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Day Care service run at the Hospice has had to be temporarily suspended due to the restrictions imposed by the government due to the pandemic. However, 25 patients are supported by the Comfort Fund; this is a monthly grant given to the poorest patients to enable them to buy food and other essential supplies. Our Coin jars support this fund; if you would like to have one, please contact Sue (01263 768699) or set up your own jar for collecting lose change for this vital fund.

The staff of Hospice Ethiopia in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health have provided training for a range of health care workers, on palliative care for people dying from corona virus. This included support for front line workers in supporting both patients and their families with their distress, medical needs and end of life care.

Earlier this year Hospice Ethiopia expanded its services by establishing a partnership with the Tibebe Ghion Hospital in Bahir Dar. This has proved to be a cost-effective model and plans are underway to replicate this at Hawassa and other major cities in Ethiopia.