Health care workers from Naledi Children’s hospice in Bloemfontein are facing tough challenges. They have to walk long distances to give palliative care. The cash strapped hospice takes care of 320 community based patients and 12 in-patients. The only van it has is expected to ferry the carers to their patients and transport sickly children to their clinic appointments.
Childhood is supposed to be a time of carefree innocence and playfulness. But not always for children who are left orphaned or vulnerable to HIV. Some are lucky to be born negative while others are less fortunate. They often end up in foster care.
“I was a Sunday school teacher in church, but I realised that children are my calling. That’s why today my house is filled with children that I raise with love,” says Lineo Zwane, a foster mother.
Sellwane Monyatsi is one of twelve community home-based care workers from Sunflower Children’s Hospice. Their responsibilities include checking whether the children are taking their medication. Sometimes parents don’t give children their pills, or they give them but are unaware that the children spit them out.
“It’s an emotionally taxing job, with challenges ranging from stigma, sometimes hostility from the patients’ families and concerns about their own safety.We were working wearing navy and white and green and white. We decided that this thing is very alarming seeing us in uniform getting there. People want to know what are we doing so we decided that we are no longer going to wear uniform,” says Olga Molahlwe, Community Manager at Sunflower Hospice.
Despite the challenges carers like Monyatsi remain committed knowing that they can make a difference.