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Elderly need long-term, chronic care

2022-10-20  Paheja Siririka

Elderly need long-term, chronic care

The horrors of hearing her daughter Laura-Lee shouting, “Mommy, granny is not standing up, she is wetting the bed” became too much for Eglien Uises, which later meant she had to quit her job and start nursing her mother.

Uises’ mother, who passed on in 2020, suffered a stroke in 2008 and was bedridden in 2015.

Her health deteriorated thereafter, prompting Uises to take care of her and eventually contemplate setting up a palliative centre.

The programme aims at imparting palliative and hospice care, home-based care knowledge and skills to our people, whilst bringing these social services to the community. It provides compassionate physical, psychosocial and spiritual support, and it cares for patients and their families.

“From absconding and dodging work in between to take care of her, I resigned to be by her side; I took her to several doctors – some private – and all they explained was something was not in the right place,” she told Vital Signs this week.

On advice and support, Uises, who is now in her late 40s, was motivated to research whether her native place needed a palliative centre. On 1 February 2017, she gathered the strength and used her garage as an administrative sight, setting up the Hope Home-Based Health Care (HHBHC) to offer services to those in need.

“Right now, due to lack of infrastructure, we do door-to-door palliative care services,” said the Tsumeb-based caregiver.

The mother of four added: “It is rewarding; it fulfils me to be able to do this for others. I have faith in so many things. I wanted to be a change agent – to be a person of value and without a doubt, my offering is valuable.”

She said, as a person who has a spinal condition and is considered disabled, she relates to pain and knows the need for help.

HHBHC has 10 healthcare workers and two people who assist with preparing meals, catering to about 120 persons in need of palliative and hospice care in Tsumeb.

She was excited to share the news with Vital Signs that the Tsumeb municipality has donated land for the erection of a structure that accommodates at least 200 people.

Visiting and familiarising herself with Uises’ work, deputy health minister Esther Utjiua Muinjangue said with the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, as well as demographic changes, particularly an increase in the population of the elderly, the need for long-term and chronic care has increased significantly.

“The initiative from individual citizens, communities and/or institutions to extend, expand and provide health and social welfare services beyond state hospitals is highly appreciated and commendable,” she appreciated.

Some successful linkages done by HHBCC during this year include two children who were referred to the Windhoek Central Hospital for successful treatment through their partner nonprofit Side by Side in Windhoek. 

Two HHBCC state patients were linked with a specialist Physician for treatment of severe uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension at no cost at all.

HHBCC has further secured future treatment for four persons over the next 12 months. The centre is currently exploring partnerships with the Windhoek spine specialist to particularly look at the conditions of children with cerebral palsy.

“The ministerial support is highly sought in this case in terms of the Windhoek Central Hospital theatre availability,” shared Muinjangue.


2022-10-20  Paheja Siririka

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