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Mission Statement

Acting in the Spirit of Christ, Catholic AIDS Action challenges the AIDS pandemic in Namibia with the Courage to Fight and the Strength to Care for the benefit of all. In pursing justice and empowerment, and through holistic spirituality, CAA builds on Roman Catholic institutions and affiliated groups, other denominations, organizations and local communities to inspire and support programs of HIV/AIDS prevention and care and support to adults and children affected by and infected with HIV and AIDS.

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Home Based Palliative Care

Catholic AIDS Action currently has over 2,000 trained volunteers providing services for over 6,700 HIV positive clients and their family members and support systems. The philosophy of Catholic AIDS Action is rooted in a client-centered approach that seeks to build on existing resources within the family and community at large. Support often includes counselling and emotional or spiritual support, practical assistance with household chores such as cooking and cleaning, encouragement to “live positively” through good nutrition with locally available foods, talking openly about one’s HIV status, and preventing the infection’s further spread. Referrals for medical treatment are made in coordination with local government and religious health institutions.

Home based palliative care volunteers receive 84 hours of training and education and are then supervised on a monthly basis by Catholic AIDS Action staff. Catholic AIDS Action volunteers are now providing a key role for individuals enrolled in anti-retroviral treatment programs, providing support for patients for medication adherence and compliance. Volunteers are also daily in their communities providing awareness information and education and working to decrease stigma and discrimination toward people living with AIDS and HIV.

INTRODUCTION OF PALLIATIVE CARE INTO EXISTING HOME BASED CARE

The CAA project, integrating true palliative care into CAA's existing system of home based care service delivery continues with technical support from the African Palliative Care Association (APCA). This project is now successfully being implemented at seven regional offices (Anamulenge, Rehoboth, Gobabis, Rundu, Oshikuku, and Katima Mulilo and Keetmanshoop) or 96 service sites (volunteer groups) throughout Namibia. 1,202 from a target of 875 volunteers have been trained with this added curriculum from October 2008 to 30 September 2009.

APCA has provided direct technical assistance and support visits to pilot sites, as well as the staff at the national office. The supervision and support address program quality issues, gathering of MER data for impact evaluation and the plans for continued expansion of this intervention. During September, a specific new monitoring tool for CAA palliative care nurses was developed and this will be implemented during the coming quarter. This tool will assist CAA in more effective and efficient use of the nurses.

Integrating palliative care within CAA's existing home based care service delivery has dramatically increased the quality of care. There have been increased referrals to and from facility-based services (hospitals and clinics), more timely and efficient identification and treatment of opportunistic infections, including tuberculosis, improved pain assessment and pain management, improved integration of family and caregivers into the care and support of the identified patient, and improved psychosocial support provided by the volunteers, particularly with discussing issues of death and dying.

CAA has now received a draft MOU with the Ministry of Health and Social Services. This will work to formalize the relationship and facilitate the referrals and services between community based and facility based programs.

 

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