New hospice playroom brings joy to sick children in Swaziland

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The Rocking Horse Project, a paediatric palliative care programme in the Kingdom of Swaziland, is very excited about the positive impact their play room at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in Manzini is having on the children, their caregivers and the medical staff. The playroom is run by their very capable play-coordinator, Sakhile Nobela, who wrote the following for this article:

“When Denise Mortlock – the director of The Rocking Horse Project – explained my duties and that I would be working with sick children, I fell in love with the job. At first I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but now I know how to interact with the children and their caregivers. The children call me different names such as aunty, sister, friend and I have learnt not to have favourites but to accept each child as they are and give them my attention and time and do what makes them feel comfortable.”

Sakhile not only does a wonderful job in the playroom, she also goes to the bedside of children who are unable to leave their beds and interacts with them there and even dons a mask and makes sure the children in the isolation wards are included in her programme.

The sister in charge of the children’s ward has this to say: “The playroom makes the sick children smile and also allows the caregivers time to take care of other issues. As nursing staff, it gives us so much joy to see the children playing, smiling, laughing and even shouting and forgetting about their illness.”

The paediatrician thanked The Rocking Horse Project for this initiative which he says has been an invaluable addition to the department and that the children are really benefitting from the play therapy.

Sakhile is often asked to assist the medical staff when a child is in need of undergoing a painful procedure as she is able to calm and comfort her little pupils. She also uses methods suitable to the age and understanding of the children to ascertain pain when the doctors are having difficulty in communicating with their patients.

If you ever visit the beautiful Kingdom of Swaziland, please make a point of visiting Sakhile in her play room.

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