Back in the late 90’s DFL identified the need to develop a Home Based Care program for terminally ill patients. The reason being that hospitals and clinics in some areas of the country were not able to cope with the increasing inpatient loads. The program consisted of training courses, the production of booklets and training videos which were all developed and produced by DFL. DFL also provided free medical care kits to trainees.
During the height of the AIDS epidemic, some big referral hospitals were reluctant to accept transfers of AIDS patients. AIDS patients were reported to occupy up to 90% of beds in some hospitals. DFL therefore started the training of AIDS Home Based Care caregivers and were one of the first organizations in South Africa to do so. More than 500 candidates have completed the 5-day basic course, which has been presented in 4 provinces. DFL has also conducted Home Based Care courses in some provincial hospitals. About a thousand patients have already been treated through the program and the number is increasing all the time. Enough trainers were trained to develop a network of available caregivers in SA. A care kit was developed for the home caregivers at the costs of about R200 and through sponsorship these were provided to caretakers free of charge. DFL was also requested to provide training to provincial and national health departments in South Africa.
The effective use of antiretrovirals by patients causes a less urgent need for treating terminally ill patients at home. Although DFL does not train any new caregivers currently, the previously trained members have assisted thousands of patients in their communities over the years and have provided many patients care and hope. Please contact us if you need more information, advice or see a need for Home Based Care in your area. To be a part of the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic was well worth it for the future of South Africa.
Story of a Caregiver
From Eunice Mteshane, Home Based Carer at Harding, KwaZulu Natal:
“I’m thankful to have met with Doctors for Life. There are many people who have been helped through the Home Based Care project, young and old, male and female. Although some have passed away, many others are still with us, by God’s grace. I would like to tell you about a child I found when he was just a year old. He was very tiny and couldn’t sit or walk and would always cry. He basically couldn’t do anything. But with the help of Doctors for Life he can walk today and he started Grade one in 2010. There was also another little girl who would always cry. Her teeth were bad and she had swollen glands, but today she’s doing grade three. Then there was a woman who had become like a very old person due to illness, but today she cannot stop talking about being helped by Doctors for Life. Therefore I say forward Doctors for Life, forward!”