BIRCHENOUGH BRIDGE — A local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Batsiranai has begun a palliative care programme for abused children in Buhera district.
REPORT BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Last week the organisation started a two week long training programme for caregivers at Mudawose rural clinic to kick-start the project.
About 30 caregivers drawn from Buhera district were trained.
The project is meant to help children who are mentally and physically challenged and those that have been psychologically abused.
Palliative care is specialised medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness.
The aim is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Speaking at the official launch of the programme last week, Batsiranai director, Francis Tembo bemoaned what he termed “a culture of silence” in the face of rampant abuse of children in the district.
“Village and community leaders have a duty to protect children from abuse.
Unfortunately, there is a culture of silence in this district, which has worsened child abuse,” Tembo said.
He warned villagers against harbouring perpetrators of child abuse saying doing so was a serious offence.
“Harbouring perpetrators of child abuse is a serious offence,” he said. “Such cases must not be swept under the carpet, but reported to the police. Children are the most vulnerable group in our communities therefore it’s our duty to protect them.”
Ward 23 coordinator for Batsiranai, Robert Mutume condemned some traditional healers for fuelling child abuse by misleading their clients.
“We are grateful that this programme has been launched here. We are now fully empowered to start an active crusade against child abuse and neglect,” Mutume said.
He challenged caregivers to participate actively to curb rampant child abuse in the district.
“We know this is a new programme, but we should work together for the benefit of our community,” he said.
What is palliative care?
The term “palliative care” is increasingly used with regard to diseases other than cancer such as chronic, progressive pulmonary disorders, renal disease, chronic heart failure, HIV and Aids, and progressive neurological conditions.
In addition, the rapidly growing field of pediatric palliative care has clearly shown the need for services geared specifically for children with serious illnesses.
- l provides relief from pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and other distressing symptoms;
- l affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
- l intends neither to hasten nor to postpone death;
- l integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
- l offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible.