In 2014 the pastor of Gikondo PEFA church (where we have taught pastors) asked us to consider helping them start a health clinic in response to the government asking faith groups to help the nation’s need for health care improvement.
Our initial response was questioning but, as a trained nurse, I began to see God giving me miraculous connections.
1st stage June 2015
I took a specialist diabetic nurse and together we did a 5 day diabetic project (2 days education, 2 days blood screening and 1 day door-to-door for shut-ins who could not attend the clinic. 300 from the community were screened and many more followed up, after we referred them onwards.
2nd stage 2016
I felt led, through very clear guidance to help the PEFA church develop a home-based palliative care programme using the clinic building as a base but visiting patients referred from the consultant oncologist of people for whom nothing more can be done, who live in Gikondo, the church area.
Volunteers are being sought in the church to do basic care, hygiene, helping with feeding, listening, encouraging, offering prayer and taking small items such as soap, cereals, milk where required.
When there are sufficient funds to pay a trained nurse (approx. £1,750 pa) we will employ one who will co-ordinate and direct the volunteers.
Gikondo PEFA church have a Memorandum of Understanding Rwanda Palliative Care programme and Hospice Organisation who, in turn, have an MOU with the Ministry of Health in the government. I have good contact with the heads of both these organisations who are keen to encourage but have no funds to help financially.
PEFA clinic Gikondo has a 2-prong approach:
3rd stage Feb 2017
Marje made a two week trip to the project for the 5 day training for the volunteers in Palliative Care. The training was of a very high standard, with 4 of the top national trainers in Palliative Care being with us continually - they included a consultant PC specialist, a consultant oncologist and a highly experienced sociologist and psychologist. This came at a cost but it was worth every penny. The trainers engaged very well with the 18 PEFA volunteers who were keen to learn and enjoyed banter, questions and discussion. The volunteers have not been put off by the thought of the very tough sights of helpless, dying patients with whom they were preparing to deal. On the 5th day there was a graduation, when all the above me,t plus a top lady from the Rwanda Palliative Care Association - it felt very auspicious! We handed over the gift of hundreds of expensive colostomy bags they had requested and which we had found miraculously on internet, being offered by a charity committed to serving developing countries.
Two practical training days followed the theory. Now there is a trained local church nurse who is also a volunteer who is going to lead the team and liaise with the RPCA who will be ready to advise.
Prayer is still needed for the implementation of all this - it is essential they introduce these volunteers gradually to the home based situations- I have seen some very tough sights over six home visits and I feel stage-by-stage is the way. The volunteers will offer to share Jesus and pray if the patients would like this and this is usually enthusiastically accepted.
In January, Marje went to Rwanda to encourage the volunteers and to go on visits with them to assess the needs. She also explored some possible sources of funding locally to make the project sustainable. There is still a hope that funding may be found in Rwanda or from UK to be able to pay the local trained nurse who co-ordinates and directs the volunteers.