Volunteers with the Makerere Palliative Care Unit, supported by Uganda Cancer Trust UK, have been providing invaluable support to cancer patients. Here Byarufu and Vivian tell us their stories about how the volunteers have helped them.
40 Year old Byarufu Rogers lives and works in the northern part of Uganda as a teacher and is married with three children. He had to travel over 300 kilometers to come to the national referral hospital and only treatment center in Uganda to get treatment for an eye melanoma. It took him about two months on the hospital ward before he eventually started his radiotherapy treatment which was a big distress for him.
It was my first time to come to Mulago Hospital and my biggest challenge was not knowing how the system was working. I spent two month without knowing exactly what was going on until the Palliative care team came in and helped explain to me everything. They also helped me to start my radiotherapy treatment. I am happy now that I am about to complete and go home because I miss my family. It’s because of the love that I have for God that he brought me such a great team of nurses and volunteers of palliative care team who have given me strength and taken away my worries and fears. They have not abandoned me. Thank you for visiting me, getting me my medications from the pharmacy I wish this care could even go beyond when I finish my treatment and leave this hospital.
One of the biggest challenges faced by many of our patients is the lack of adequate family and financial support while in hospital. This is partly because many patients travel long distances to come into the hospital which makes it difficult to come along with family members. In such cases, patients have had to fend for themselves, which is very challenging in the hospital. This is the situation Vivian found herself in when she came into hospital. The 27 year old lady was admitted with cervical cancer to receive radiotherapy treatment over a period of 8 weeks. The volunteers have been acting as her main carers, providing practical support like collecting her medication, helping her access meals, and wheeling her to the radiotherapy department for treatment.
I don’t think I would have managed to get treatment if you people didn’t help me. Thank you very much for your service. I wish every patient can also get what I have got.