Dignity in Developing Nations
Culture of the Now
Many people in Africa live day to day, with little thought or concern for the future. This oversight often leads to a lack of planning in many realms of life, including the inevitability of death. This becomes even more apparent in the presence of terminal illness, when families do not possess sufficient knowledge to help their loved one come to the end of their life in peace, comfort and dignity.
Often, people who request surgical or medical help from Mercy Ships are unable to receive assistance because of inoperable and terminal conditions. Many of these people who are physically suffering from incurable diseases are also suffering from rejection, misunderstanding and fear by their friends, families and communities. There are few, if any, groups within the community who provide counseling, support and end-of-life care to grieving families.
The Mercy Ships Palliative Care Team compassionately serves those who cannot be helped by the ship’s surgical staff. Physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs are addressed by the team’s medical and counseling staff.
Statistics (source: WHO)
- At least one in every 200 individuals each year in Africa needs palliative care. There are clear gaps in the ability of existing health services to provide even basic care for the terminally ill.
- Each year an estimated 40 million people are in need of palliative care, 78% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. For children, 98% of those needing palliative care live in lowand middle-income countries, with almost half of them living in Africa.