Hospice Ethiopia has been awarded $67,600 USD to support hospice and palliative care in Addis Ababa through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant funded through the Addis Ababa HIV Prevention and Control Office.
The funds will be used to provide prevention, care and support to hospice patients across Addis Ababa at the community level. According to Dr Mengistu Bekele, Deputy Head of Addis Ababa’s Government Health Bureau, the grant serves as an entry point for patients to receive access to end-of-life services, at minimal cost.
“Hospice is a new idea and new approach in Ethiopia,” said Berhanu Zewdie, programme coordinator for the CDC in Ethiopia.
Terminally ill patients in Ethiopia have traditionally been taken to religious centres or have died in their homes, often without adequate care or pain relief. Due to the high prevalence rate of HIV in Addis Ababa, local health centres have been overcrowded by patients who need care over a prolonged period.
Zewdie attributes increased donor awareness to fund hospice care in Addis Ababa due to Hospice Ethiopia’s lobbying efforts during World Hospice and Palliative Care Day held on October 13, 2012, which attracted government officials and funding agencies to their event. This grant specifically provides a new opportunity of collaboration between a non governmental service provider, public institutions and policy makers with the intention of strengthening hospice and palliative care in Ethiopia in the long run.
“Hospice Ethiopia viewed this [award] as an entry point and a stepping stone for its long aspired effort of voicing the need for holistic hospice and palliative care in the country,” said Sister Tsigereda, the founding director of Hospice Ethiopia.
Addis Ababa’s Deputy Mayor, Abate Sitotaw Fenta, tends to agree. “This grant, together with other programmes, will make a difference in Addis,” he said.
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