96253 AEC Home-Based Care – Malawi

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.Project Vision: To equip the Africa Evangelical Church in Malawi to show God’s love by meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the sick or suffering members in their community in their homes, and support their families, through a program of regular visiting, advocacy, counselling and practical assistance. The original strategy commenced five programs in 5 different locations over the period 2002-2006. The project was extended in 2007 to expand to 3 additional locations over the next 3 years.

Home Based Care – Still Needed?

With so many pressing needs around the world it is no surprise that HIV/AIDS is feeling the effects of donor fatigue and constantly changing priorities. The result of this in Malawi, where still 10% of the population are living with HIV & where government health services are over-stretched and failing, is that Home Based Care programs are still urgently needed and yet many have been ceased due to lack of funding. Just last month a local health worker confirmed that despite the overwhelming & continuing need, the AEC HBC program is the only one still operating in the whole of the Nsanje district.  What a challenge and yet what an opportunity for the church to keep demonstrating that they have not forgotten or abandoned those suffering, and that they are faithfully there for the long haul.

The 125 church volunteers in the 6 home based care locations in rural Malawi continue to bring physical, emotional and spiritual support to over 300 beneficaries & their carers. To give a picture of how our program is making a difference in individual lives just consider some of the variety of needs being met amongst the group at Naotcha (pictured) where, for example, we have a 12 year old child admitted due to severe skin conditions who volunteers were able to counsel to be tested and is now starting ARV treatment, a young man with Karposi Sarcoma (HIV related cancer) who having been assisted with transport to receive treatment has been able to start walking again & return to school,  a widow caring for 5 kids who, since being on the program has started ARV treatment and with the vitamin fortified maize porridge provided by the program is starting to regain strength which, although she is still very weak  & under weight, has helped her make ends meet and care for the children by doing a small business making & selling chitumbuwa (maize flour & sugar snack),  and a grandmother caring for a malnourished baby after it’s mother died when it was only 2 months old.

Thank you for helping us to empower the church volunteers provide the long term, faithful support needed to walk alongside so many individuals who are slowly re-building their lives with a renewed hope for the future.

Prayer requests

For wisdom in undertaking & compiling the evaluation feedback so especially so that we can discern God’s direction for the future.

For volunteers, especially at the pastoral care locations, to be able to see the value of providing emotional & spiritual support even when they have nothing physical available to take.

For good rains this season and fair maize distribution between now & the next harvest.

For government to be able to facilitate more basic drugs to be available in its public hospitals & clinics.

Progress

Since last reported in March 2016, the Home Based Care project has successfully continued its operations in the 7 locations.

Special points of note during the last 6 months are:

Refresher trainings & Golf Shirts – annual refresher trainings were held at Sani, Chapananga, Lulwe, Sankhulani & Chididi. Only Naotcha remains which is scheduled for October. During the trainings all volunteers received new golf shirts with HBC logo to wear whilst visiting which strengthens their visibility in the community and provides a good motivation for the volunteers.

End of Project Evaluation – As the project approaches its end date we have been undertaking an evaluation process over the last few months. Structured interviews & focus groups will be used in 4 locations to gather information to add to the quantitative summary of interventions. Evaluation questionnaires have been developed for each stakeholder and interviews have been scheduled for Naotcha & Sani in October, and Sankhulani & Chididi in November.

Ntchisi pastoral care follow up training – In June the HBC co-ordinator held a follow up session with the Ntchisi pastoral care team. He joined them during their normal morning visiting and then was able to debrief about their visits and discuss possible IGA’s which might allow them to raise funds in order to take items to those they visit. There still seems to be a unhelpful focus on purely the physical support so there is on-going need to strengthen their appreciation of the emotional & spiritual impact they can have.

Hunger season: In April 2016, the government announced a state of disaster in response to a very poor harvest this year. There has been some evidence of government ‘work for food’ schemes in a few of our locations which is encouraging and thankfully beneficiary health does not seem to be noticeably worse.

Andrea Richter Home Assignment: the soap IGA at HBC Naotcha was able to continue smoothly during the home assignment of Andrea Richter due to the good work of STA Eva Neukom in overseeing the ladies & distributing profits during that period.

In the last 6 months the HBC Landcruiser has had new seat belts, repairs to the speedometer, temperature gauge & rear door mechanism. The Nissan truck needed major work to get it running again & prepare it for COF such that it can be sold in due course.

Future Plans

In addition to the regular HBC activities, during the next 6 months, we will be concluding the evaluation process including looking at what the future of HBC should be after the completion of the current project period.

It should be noted that the current HBC co-ordinator is due for retirement anytime from May 2017.

Project background

As the AIDS pandemic spreads across Malawi, the already stretched health system is unable to care for the influx of patients suffering from AIDS-related illnesses. Inability to cope with the large numbers has hospitals sending many patients home to be cared for by family members. Most families do not know how to care for their sick and often leave them to suffer alone while they attend to other responsibilities.


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