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Our Regional Project in South Africa

The Othandweni – A Place of Love – Nurse Training for Township Carers

Respite Care is an extension of the home-based care service (HBC). As the HIV/AIDS pandemic progressed in KwaZuluNatal, despite a comprehensive HBC project being in operation, many patients were still dying alone in dreadful conditions. This was caused because many patients no longer had a caregiver at home as so many adults had died. As a result patients were left on their own or being cared for by their children who had been taken out of school. The youngest found by the charity was five years old.

The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust in South Africa, established a Respite Unit in 2006 based in an empty ward of a local hospital. In 2007 they were told that the hospital would need to regain the ward in 2008 and fund raising began. The Respite Unit ‘Othandweni – A Place of Love’ moved to a purpose built unit in 2008, housing up to 25 Township Aids patients, staffed by caregivers and trained supervisors. Patients were admitted to be able to die in dignity, but unexpectedly a growing number of patients recovered enough to be enlisted onto a antiretroviral programme and return to the community, currently some 50%.

This success has led to the need of more qualified nursing staff and the charity is seeking to reward the careers who have been working in the unit and as careers for several years, by having them trained as registered nurses, rather than employ a qualified nurse from outside.

The training takes two years and is taking place at the Chatsmed Candlelight Nursing School in the Durban area.

Training fees, registration, books, examination fees, for year one come to R18,764.40 and the fees for year two are R17,000.

Margaret Turnbull of SI Enfield and District leads this project, which has been adopted by all ten clubs within London Anglia Region, who will each contribute funds for the next two years.