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Mercy Mission

Working with AIDS patients

My Ministry: St Francis Care Centre at Boksburg
South Africa

Background Information

HIV/ AIDS is one of the challanges facing South Africa today. Most of the people suffering from HIV/ AIDS, who are treated at St Francis Care Centre are children, women and the poor who have no other recourse to help. All the people of South Africa are affected in one way or another by the HIV/AIDS pandemic

'Aids today is claming more lives than the sum of wars, famine, floods and the ravages of such deadly diseases as malaria'
(Nelson Mandela- Former President of South Africa)

Sr. Rachel (right) with a care giver and patients

1. The Nature of My Involvement in HIV/AIDS

Counselling people infected / affected with HIV/AIDS at St Francis Care Centre, where patients are treated in a comfortable enviroment with care and dedication not only for their physical well being but also for their spiritual, emotional and social needs.

2. Programme Support

- Education and development programmes for HIV/AIDS patients
Conflict management skills
Stress managememt skills
Strengthening of family units for patients infecte with HIV/AIDS

- Implementation of Programmes for Home Based Carers
Assisting the Social Worker with the supervision of Home Based Carers
Tracking down treatment defaulters at out Antiretroviral Clinics

- Practical Support
Assisting patients with applications for financial aid
Making arrangements for religious and dignified funerals for paupers who
have died at the Centre.

- Recruitment of Home Based Carers
Recruitment of Volunteers Care givers to nurse patients at home.

- Office Administration
Record keeping of Foster /Host/ Adoptive parents
Minute keeping

- Referrals
Assisting the Social Woker to identify in -house patients both adults and children needing documentation at relevant State Departments.

3. Collaboration With Others

- Residential Social Worker
- Nursing Staff
- Liason Officer
- Patients
- Home Based Carers
- Community Leaders

4. Poverty Alleviation

- Support Packages
Food parcels, nutritional supplements, instructions for establishing food gardens

- Identification of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Ensuring their access to essential services such as food, shelter, clothing and education.

- Emotional Support
Forming support groups for those infected /affected with HIV/AIDS to help them cope with their emotional needs, which at times go beyond psychological support and to help them focus on improving their lifestyle.

- Disabled HIV/ AIDS
Treatment programmes for their needs at home

- Behaviour Change
Encouranging people living with HIV/AIDS to attend workshops that aimed at behaviour change in their community.

5. Catherines's Vision

In my daily work with HIV/AIDS patients, I am inspired by the words of Venerable Catherine McAauley who said '' There are things the poor prize more highly than gold though they cost the donor nothing... among these are the kind word, the gentle compassionate look and the patient hearing of their sorrows'

Today in South Africa AIDS suffers are the modern lepers of the society - disowned by thier families, abandoned by the National Health Department and on the brink of despair.

I feel privileged to have woked for the past 4 years at St Francis Care Centre where patients have their dignity and self respect restored; where many after proper medical care leave to return to their work places, and others with loving spiritual support go peacefully to meet their Heavenly Father.

Sr Rachel Nukeri

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