Covid-19 in Ethiopia

The first known case of covid-19 in Ethiopia was on 13th February 2020. In April the number of cases began to rise and the government declared a state of emergency to curb its spread. The severe new restrictions included a ban of more than 4 people meeting, an introduction of 2 metre social distancing, a 50% reduction of passengers on public transport, the closure of schools & universities and only cargo & essential goods were allowed to cross the border.

The restrictions have made life in Ethiopia difficult with long queues to get to work or no work at all. If you have no work, you have no income and starvation becomes a bigger threat than Covid-19. Fortunately there have been far fewer cases than the initial estimates by the WHO. Despite very limited medial resources there have only been 1,141 deaths and 71,083 cases in an estimated population of 110 million (23rd September).  Several reasons have been suggested for the lower numbers including, a younger population, the quick response from the government, less widespread travel and previous partial immunity conferred by other endemic infections.

Hospice Ethiopia Stall at Mannington Hall in September

Hospice Ethiopia UK has continued to support Hospice Ethiopia during the pandemic with financial support, assisting with the procurement of PPE and advice about adjusting the day to day running of the hospice. The day unit has been closed and these patients are now supported by phone. Our fundraising has been severely curtailed this year by the pandemic but we were delighted to raise £439 at the Mannington Hall Charities day on September 6th. We’re also very grateful to donors who have set up a standing order, which ensures regular funds for Hospice Ethiopia. If you would like to help Hospice Ethiopia in this way, please email info@hospiceethiopia.org.uk

Our fundraising is used to care for people like Maaza (not her real name) in Addis Ababa. She was a 30 year old lady with cancer of her lower jaw. Following surgery, the wound became infected so it didn’t heal. Her face became distorted by the mass which did not respond to chemotherapy. By the time the Hospice Ethiopia nurses met her, she hadn’t had a proper might’s sleep for 3 months. The pain & distress were overwhelming. The nurse reported Maaza “felt sad, hopeless and unworthy”.

The nurses visited her frequently at home; they provided medicines & dressings to control the pain & infection. They also gave her information about her illness as she previously had no understanding about it.

Although her illness could not be cured, her quality of life was greatly improved and she and her husband were able to sleep at night. Two months later, Maaza died peacefully at home with her family, free from pain & distress.

HE Haircut challenge!

We’re joining the national 2.6 challenge to help charities who have cancelled events in light of the UK Coronavirus lockdown.

Hospice Ethiopia UK is coordinating a hair cutting (and potentially hair raising…) challenge with 26 brave volunteers allowing their lockdown comrades to cut their hair. We’ve been kind enough to not specify the required haircut, but [spoiler alert] Jamie Mumford, trustee, has agreed to shave his beard for the first time in 35 years!

Please donate generously, as the Coronavirus is likely to hit Ethiopia very hard. We’ll be coming back with photographic evidence and updates as the locks come off on Sunday 26th April!

This is the link to donate:

Donate to HE Haircut Challenge

Successful fundraising in November & December 2018

We had a number of successful events to round off 2018; in particular the Big Give, which ran from 27th November to 4th December. We had hoped to raise £8,000 which meant we needed our donors to give £4,000 which would then be matched to raise £8,000. In fact, our donors gave £5,007 (£4,000 of which was doubled) and with Gift Aid the total raised was over £10,000. A fantastic result, which we could not have achieved without so many of our donors taking part.

Other events included Mary Lamb’s Open House event in December, which raised over £2,477, and the Bridge event at the Bishop’s Palace in Norwich, which raised over £1,450.
Below is our Hospice Ethiopia tree, at the St Michael’s Church Christmas Tree Festival in Aylsham:
Xmas tree
Many thanks for all your support in 2018 and wishing everyone all the best for 2019!

The Big Give is Live. Your donations matched for one week!

Donate to Hospice Ethiopia via the Big Give

Many of you have generously made donations in the past that have helped provide care for many patients. We’re very excited to let you know that Hospice Ethiopia UK has been selected this year to participate in the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2018, the UK’s largest match funding campaign.

We will be raising money for our project, which is to pay for the nurses’ salaries at Hospice Ethiopia for six months. These nurses provide vital care and symptom control in people’s homes for those dying from cancer and other terminal illnesses. They are often their only point of contact, bringing relief to truly desperate people.

One donation, twice the impact

Donations to this project will be matched for 7 days from 12pm on 27th November. So every pound you give during that period means two pounds for Hospice Ethiopia.

What happens during the Christmas Challenge?
Donations made to our project via theBigGive.org.uk will be doubled during the campaign. If you would like to support our work this year, we highly recommend doing so during the Christmas Challenge when your donation will make even more of a difference to Hospice Ethiopia.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at info@hospiceethiopia.org.uk

Finally, please pass on this message to anyone who you think might be interested in supporting us and having their donation doubled.

Many thanks in advance,

The Trustees of Hospice Ethiopia UK

The Diocese of Norwich supports Hospice Ethiopia in the Bishop’s Lent Appeal 2017

In 2017 the Bishop’s Appeal in Norwich will be focused on raising money to provide a car for Hospice Ethiopia to reach those in need of palliative care.

Through the appeal, your money will go towards providing the Hospice with an off-road rental car for three years.  Roads are often rough and of poor quality, and public transport is busy and unreliable.  We want to help enable care and equipment to reach those who cannot travel to the hospice.

Cars are expensive and difficult to maintain given the availability of parts.  By renting the vehicle all maintenance costs are included; well advised given the quality of the roads.

In addition, the nurses are frequently carrying medicines to their patients, in particular opiate pain killers, which would make them vulnerable on public transport.

More information and resources are available at http://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/churches/seasonal/lent/ 

Hospice Ethiopia in the British Medical Journal

Blog as originally featured in the BMJ Opinion, 27 May 2016. http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2016/05/27/jamie-and-sue-mumford-palliative-care-in-ethiopia/ 

We have recently returned from our fourth visit to Addis Ababa. With less than 1% of the estimated 150,000 new cancer cases annually in Ethiopia receiving specialist oncological treatment [1], the need for affordable palliative care in the country is huge.

Hospice Ethiopia, the only palliative care unit in the country providing symptom control treatment, was set up in 2003 by Sister Tsigerada Yiswafossen. It is a non-governmental organisation and as such has to raise 90% of its funds from outside the country. When funding is dependent on donors there is a continuous need of international and domestic networking.

The objectives of Hospice Ethiopia are quality of life for their patients, training of health professionals, and raising awareness of palliative care needs and treatment. The four nurses and one part-time doctor at Hospice Ethiopia provide community based palliative care free of charge to terminally ill people in three districts (estimated population of 900,000) in the east/north of the city.

Access to opiates is finally improving. Since we first visited four years ago, the number of hospitals in Addis Ababa that have access to oral morphine has increased from one to nine. With training from Hospice Ethiopia staff, support from the Ethiopian government, and funding from the US, 700 healthcare professionals are now able to appropriately use strong opioids. It has been a privilege to see and be a small part of this process, (which puts our NHS work as a GP and Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse into perspective). Hospice Ethiopia staff have also helped to produce national palliative care guidelines, published by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

A recent exciting development is a project supported by the WHPCA to enable Hospice Ethiopia to work with the traditional burial societies known as Iddirs to promote palliative care delivery to Ethiopia’s rural population. Iddirs were originally set up to help with the costs of burials but are now used for a wide range of community issues.

We are part of a small group based at Priscilla Bacon Lodge Specialist Palliative Care Unit in Norwich who support Hospice Ethiopia. We have close links with a similar group led by Dr Norrtsrom in Sweden and with Professor Anne Merriman at Hospice Africa Uganda. We endeavour to promote much needed palliative care in this fast changing part of Africa. We will be back in the new year!

References:

1 Woldeamanuel YW, Girma B, Teklu AM. Cancer in Ethiopia. Lancet Oncol 2013;14:289–90. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70399-6.

Jamie Mumford is a GP in north Norfolk and Sue Mumford is a community palliative care nurse.

Photo: patient consent obtained.

Norfolk nurse sees ‘slow progress’ in Ethiopian palliative care

A twinning arrangement between palliative care specialists in Norfolk and hospices in Ethiopia is starting to make “progress” in the Africa country, according to a nurse involved with the scheme.

Article in the Nursing Times, https://www.nursingtimes.net/clinical-archive/end-of-life-and-palliative-care/norfolk-nurse-sees-slow-progress-in-ethiopian-palliative-care/5082876.article