Did you know that Ndi Moyo had a comfort fund? However, to imply that this is to provide a few luxuries for our patients would be quite mistaken. Instead, it attempts to deliver a few of
the necessities which make treatment or nursing care possible.
Those of us in the western world would be horrified to discover that, for the want of £6-7, the return bus fare for the 100 Km from Salima to the central hospital in Lilongwe, many fail to undergo essential tests (like biopsies), receive their surgery or undergo more advanced chemotherapy. These can be paid from our comfort fund, which supports about ninety patients every month in need of transport money and others with lesser sums to travel to the local district hospital for investigation or anti-retroviral therapy. Transport makes up the greater part of comfort fund expenditure, amounting to approximately £6,500 per year.
In addition, this fund contributes to many other simple necessities of life. Most of our patients are subsistence farmers who have exhausted their resources in their search for treatment. Some have lost jobs and most are unable to work. There is no national scheme of social support and Ndi Moyo attempts to fill this gap with food supplements and other necessities. At least twenty patients per month are supplied with a 10 Kg bag of maize, (amounting to a total cost of £1200 a year). Others receive soap (£885 a year) blankets (£245 a year) or mosquito nets (£150 a year) and, when available, a mattress so that dying patients are not lying on a thin bamboo mat on the hard ground. Finally, when we visit bereaved families,
they are given just a small donation of condolence money, amounting to about £1.60.
Nearly all of these things we would take for granted without giving them a second thought but total funding of £10,000 a year enables us to deliver them to those in the greatest need.
The pictures below give just two examples. The patient talking to Dominic, our palliative care nurse trainer was helped with transport money to be seen by the oncologist who comes to Ndi Moyo monthly. He will be assessed as to the need for more chemotherapy for his Kaposi Sarcoma. The other, strange at first glance, shows the inside of a house of one dying patient, its only contents, the mattress, blanket and mosquito net we were able to provide.