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GOOD PEOPLE GOOD WORKS Irish Aid in Zambia: Our Lady’s Hospice and Umoyo Day Center for Orphans - P2/2    
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Welcome, engaged viewers, to this edition of Good People, Good Works, for the conclusion of our two-part program on the activities of the charitable group Irish Aid in Zambia, which has helped build the facilities at Our Lady’s Hospice and the Umoyo Day Center for Orphans in the capital city of Lusaka.

Seeking to promote peace and justice, Irish Aid works to better economic conditions and foster equality in developing nations such as those found in Sub-Saharan Africa like Zambia. The Umoyo Day Center looks after nearly 100 orphans ages 4 to 8 during the day and provides them with education and hot meals.

Our Lady’s Hospice is a faith-based organization that mainly provides palliative care to cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. We begin with Sister Kay O’Neil, administrator of Our Lady’s Hospice, showing us around the facility.

This building was funded by Irish Aid, and it was opened in 2001. And it was the first building for this plot here, and we started training the caregivers to look after the people in their homes suffering from HIV/AIDS. And from then after, we got some more buildings, and then we started admitting patients and seeing to them in the outpatients department.

In 2004, we got free antiretroviral drugs, and then the patients increased enormously. And now we’ve got over 5,000 registered patients coming to our outpatients (department). This room here is a physiotherapy (room) for patients who suffer side effects from the antiretroviral drugs. They get a lot of nerve pain and they come here for massage and ultrasound and other treatments.

This is the Physiotherapy Department. People who have been in bed for a long time, they experience maybe swollen limbs, we give them a massage. If they've got painful legs, then you can give them a massage straight to their joints to keep them mobile, and also improve on the blood circulation.

Here is a demonstration of the massage technique that brings relief to patients at the Hospice.

Use some oil, just enough, then… …. just massage her. This massage is just to improve some circulation, and also just to relax the muscles, and then after that, sometimes use a pain relief gel, so that when it penetrates the skin, it’s able to relieve the pain. Then it will be easy for me to just move her elbow so that it’s flexible. Even if somebody’s in the hospital, when they come out of the hospital, they should be able to use their arm in their daily function. This is why we do physiotherapy

Sister Kay O’Neil next takes us to another important department in the Hospice that provides treatment to HIV patients.

Our latest hospice is a facility that caters to HIV-positive clients, on ART (antiretroviral therapy) and just on palliative management. We are helping the community, because right now, apart from giving them the medication which they need, we also give them the food supplements, which are being produced by other organizations.

The University of Alabama-Birmingham in the US provides diagnostic services to the Hospice. Sister Kay now explains further.

The members of the staff are putting the data of the patients into the computer and then it goes to Birmingham in Alabama (USA) for analysis. And they give us feedback about how we can proceed with the treatment of the patient, whether we need to change some of their medication or give us indication of how they’re improving or if they’re not responding to the treatment.

Let us meet one of the facility’s fine physicians, who provides great care to the patients.

Basically here we care for the people who are terminally ill. Most of the time, like the criteria of admission here, for those who are HIV positive and all the complications of HIV like opportunistic infections, then people with cancer, those are the people who are admitted (to the Hospice).

Conditions like cancer, those are palliative conditions. And usually it’s just palliative care, then we have people like those who are infected with HIV/AIDS. Then there is some opportunistic infection, things like TB. We do admit them. Though sometimes they may come in a serious condition, but by the grace of God, we do manage them properly. Then after they start their TB treatment, after that, then we initiate them with ARVs (antiretrovirals).

I can say that 70% of the people, they are doing fine. And you may find that they are discharged and they go back to their homes and some time after initiating the ARVs, they pick up, they go back to their daily activities. If they are working, they will again recover, they start working again.

We now visit another project financially supported by Irish Aid, the Umoyo Day Center for Orphans. Sister Edna O’Connor is the manager of the facility.

I've worked here at the center since 2003. I’ve worked with the children and then we have four teachers and we have a coordinator. All the children here are orphans. Either both their parents are gone or one parent may still be living but they are usually sick. So they're raised by their grandparents, aunt, uncle, or whatever. We have 96 children and we take them from age four to eight. So we start with the very young children.

The idea is to build them up nutritionally so there are two meals every day. They come to school five days a week. Then we have trained teachers for all the classes. We have four classes; about 24 children in each class. We have two cooks that prepare delicious meals, breakfast and lunch, and after lunch then they go home.

... This is the day That the Lord has made,
that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice, we will rejoice,
And be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it,
and be glad in it.
Oh, this is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made.
We are the sons, we are the sons,
Of the living God, of the living God.
We will rejoice, we will rejoice,
And be glad in Him, and be glad in Him.
We are the sons of the living God.
We will rejoice and be glad in Him,
And be glad in Him.
Oh, we are the sons,
we are the sons Of the living God.

When they are finished here the children that reach the age of seven they go on to first grade in government schools. This place was built with the help of Irish Aid, the building itself. We would never be able to put up the building if it wasn't for that initial grant that we got from Irish Aid.

And then other people gave donations, but the biggest one was Irish Aid. So we appreciate what they have given to us. We were opened in 2003; that's when we started, we started over at the church and then when this building was built they moved over here. So this is where we have been.

Isaac Kahlaya is the Center’s coordinator and plays a very important role.

My work here involves quite a lot of things. There's a follow-up of children who are sick, follow-up of children who don't go to school, follow-up of children who don't normally look well. So initially my job is to make sure that everything is in place, and also the registration of children eligible to come for the program. Because we are looking at only those who are half and full orphans.

And the main purpose of this school is the nutrition part of it; that's what we're looking at. These are orphans. They are looking forward to someone who can show love to them, of which this place is there. So they feel good otherwise. And sometimes, they even come during Saturdays or holidays' time because of the good reception.

They're happy, joyful, playful children. And that's what you see here; they enjoy their childhood.

There is a name I love so much
I love so much
There is a name I love so much
The name of Jesus Christ
Oh, how I love Jesus Oh, how I love Jesus
Oh, how I love Jesus Because He died for me.

Read your Bible every day Every day, every day
Read your Bible every day
As you grow, grow, grow As you grow, grow.

What is Sister Edna O’Connor’s hope for Zambian children?

That they will get a good foundation in education, especially, and then also get good food so that they'll be strong and healthy and be able to cope with the ups and downs of life. So I hopefully see good education, good healthcare.

I believe God loves us all. I believe we're all brothers and sisters. I believe God is our Father; we’ve the same God; no matter who we are, God loves all of us. And I think it's our responsibility to help and support one another as much as we can. Because it comes back in peace, it comes back in a sense of joy. There’s more received than given actually.

Our appreciation, Irish Aid for funding benevolent projects in Zambia and elsewhere in the world. We sincerely thank you, staff members of Our Lady’s Hospice and the Umoyo Day Center for Orphans for giving great comfort to others in need and your dedicated efforts to nurture orphaned children in Lusaka. May your service continue to uplift the spirits and lives of the country’s mothers, fathers and children.

For more details on Irish Aid and Our Lady’s Hospice, please visit the following websites:
Irish Aid www.IrishAid.gov.ie
Our Lady’s Hospice www.OurLadysHospice-Zambia.org

Thank you, wonderful viewers, for your company on this week’s edition of Good People, Good Works. May Heaven grace all beings on Earth with everlasting health and well-being.
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