As this new year begins with all its uncertainties and unsettling headlines, I wanted to share two stories of kindness, constancy and care that Pastor Leonard Gcabashe and Dr Ashita Singh told us about recently. Leonard wrote from Embo, South Africa about Mr Khwela, a new patient with HIV who recently had a stroke that left him immobile. Despite these very difficult circumstances, Mr Khwela told Leonard how compassionate and cheerful support from his caregiver Mayenzeke has given him new hope: ‘Mayenzeke passes jokes to me when visiting, which changes my day.’ Ashita told us about a carol service which staff and church volunteers put on for palliative care patients and their families at ChinchpadaChristian Hospital, India – to which a staggering 800 people came: ‘The choir, staff and volunteers greeted each of our special guests, and
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Ajay's story... Ragged and gaunt, scarcely able to stand, 19-year-old Ajay* staggered through the doors of Chinchpada Christian Hospital in India just a few weeks ago. As staff helped him to a bedhe told them his story. With no friend or family member to help and no money for a bus ticket, his five-hour journey to hospital had been painful and lonely. His father and new step-mother often left him to fend for himself. But that got harder and harder as he started to become ill. After a local doctor diagnosed diabetes, family members would occasionally help him buy insulin. But then even that support dried up. Finally, a kind neighbour suggested he try Chinchpada Christian Hospital, saying, ‘They helped me get well for very little money.
Musa was already HIV-positive when he was born in Embo, South Africa 22 years ago. Both of his parents died when he was a boy, and his grandmother took over his care. But then she contracted TB – and Musa had to drop out of school to look after her. A while later, Musa caught TB, too. They relied heavily on Musa’s older brother, who was the family breadwinner. But when he died of AIDS, Musa was left grieving, isolated, ill and desperately poor. He wanted to give up on life, and lay on his bed waiting to die. That’s when MAI-supported community caregiver, Priscilla, stepped in. A neighbour told her about Musa and his grandmother. On her first visit Priscilla
Martha Primary Health Care Clinic in Yei, South Sudan not only provides urgently-needed healthcare such as child malnutrition treatment and support for people living with TB and HIV. It also runs the only eye clinic for hundreds of miles, recently reopened thanks to a generous gift from the charity Brickworks. Within just two weeks of reopening, 25 patients needing cataract surgery had been identified. Losing your sight is challenging for anyone, but for people living in poverty and under the relentless threat of violence, it can be devastating. Cataract removal surgery gives patients back the gift of sight. In many cases, this enables them to live independently again, and to support themselves and their families. In partnership with MAI, a
The poorest often live at the bottom of the valleys. Pastor Leonard carries a disabled patient up the steep slopes of the valley to the waiting hospital vehicle that will take him for his regular check-up at the clinic.