Hope House is a faith based charity centre serving as a hospice facility, a home for the terminally ill, HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS related illnesses. It is a center which serves as a half way-house between, hospital and home for those in need.
By Bishop Jose Luis
In the Catholic Church, February 11 is the day of prayer for the sick as we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It was then Providential (with a capital “P”) that we chose the day before to gather at Hope House for a short prayer for our sick children and their families.
Today marks the 27th Anniversary of International World AIDS Day, a day when countries the World over stand together in solidarity, and reflect on the progress made in the fight against HIV and its impact on individuals, families and communities. It also is time to honor and commemorate those who lost their lives and have succumbed to HIV and its related complications.
To celebrate this important day, we met on Thursday 26th November at HOPE HOUSE, in Manzini, where Caritas Swaziland implements a project to support HIV/AIDS patients in a quiet and familiar place, serving as an hospice facility.
Many people joined us, including Bishop Josè Luis Ponce de Leon, local and national authorities, staff members, patients with their caregivers and families, and a representation of students from the local schools that amused us with songs, dances and performances.
As the 2014 UNAIDS Report highlights, in Swaziland the number of people living with HIV/AIDS reaches 210,000 of people affected. The introduction of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) has made HIV a manageable chronic illness, but, for treatment to be successful, adherence to medication is essential. In Swaziland, traditional family structures have been ravaged by the HIV epidemic, and the number of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) due to this illness is still increasing.
Therefore, the big challenge is to talk and work on prevention, transmission from mother to child, and discrimination. It is fundamental supporting patients with adequate food for treatments, and we learnt from the past the importance to involve the community, especially for the psychological support.
In this special occasion, someone reminded us the words of Saint Pope John Paul II speaking to a group of Health workers and People Living with HIV and AIDS at the Vatican City in Rome, Italy: “Dear brothers and sisters sick with AIDS, don’t feel alone because you are not alone, the Church is near you with love and supports you in your difficult path. She will never abandon you nor forsake you”.
It is a part of Caritas Swaziland’s HIV and AIDS Program, serving as an hospice facility. In this regard the center serves as a half way between hospital and home for those in need because of the terminally ill, HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS related illnesses, regardless of their faith.
Our main objective is to alleviate the physical, psycho-social and spiritual suffering of the terminally ill, through the provision of a quiet environment, palliative care, nutritional advice, counseling and companionship. The holistic care, comfort and user-friendly services are provided by a small group, including the Program Manager, palliative care nursing staff and gardener, who work closely with the caregivers and the housekeeper. Hope House provides a counseling service for patients and their carers, and a training of caregivers on how to support the person with a terminal illness on discharge.
The Center comprises 25 self-contained and furnished units, including a kitchenette, toilet and shower. Each unit can accommodate 2 people, the patient and his/her carer such as a friend or relative. We also have a children’s unit who work in collaboration with the Rocking Horse project; a physiotherapy unit with a part-time physiotherapist and a part-time medical doctor to assist our patients.
Hope House is a residential faith based hospice center and is part of Caritas Swaziland’s suite of HIV and AIDS support programs. It was officially opened in 2001. HIV AIDS clients & all terminally ill people, regardless of their religious affiliation, nationality, or age are able to utilize the services of Hope House. Accommodation is provided in individual furnished units.
It is centrally located in Manzini, which is virtually in the middle of Swaziland, making it accessible to clients from all four regions of the country. It is the only known center of its kind in Swaziland and Caritas Swaziland is the only known organization within the country that provides the full range of HIV and AIDS interventions from prevention and impact mitigation through palliative care.