Members of the Susquehanna Hospice team work every day to alleviate the suffering and help with the many needs of their terminally ill patients and their families every day. Treatment of pain, shortness of breath, nausea, confusion, depression and other physical symptoms, as well as helping with emotional,
social, spiritual needs, is integral to the work of hospice, and has been shown to help dying patients and their loved ones very much.
Unfortunately, for millions of people around the world suffering from severe advanced or terminal illness, there is not such help available. In areas such as most of sub Saharan Africa, there has been little or no access to hospice and palliative care. In the last ten years there has been efforts to develop African hospice and palliative care programs to meet these needs.
Susquehanna hospice has partnered with a new hospice/palliative care program just beginning in the Shirati hospital, in Tanzania. This is a very poor area, with essentially NO access to good end of life care or medications needed for control of symptoms of suffering until now.
There has not been availability of morphine (or any similar strong pain medication) for control of pain or shortness of breath in Tanzania. The scope of suffering from these and other symptoms for those sick and dying in Tanzania is difficult to imagine.
A small group of doctors, nurses, volunteers, and others has begun a program to serve those in need in Shirati, and we are engaged with them in a partnership to help. Our team has raised money for and awareness of the Shirati program in the Williamsport area, and will visit Tanzania in August. We hope to learn from them, share ideas, and form personal relationships to allow for a meaningful ongoing partnership.
In the months and years to come, we hope to engage others throughout Susquehanna Health, as well as the regional community, in supporting the work that our partners are engaged in.