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The respite care centre officially opened its doors on 5 March 2007 in response to a dire need in the community- to provide people who are HIV positive or are suffering from other chronic illnesses with full medical care, nutritious meals and counselling in a warm and nurturing environment. With established strong relationships with hospitals across the city and Médecins Sans Frontières who have been coordinating medical care in the community until recently, the medical community has been overwhelmingly supportive and appreciative of the services provided by the respite care centre. As one of the only respite centres of its kind, the 16 patient beds are always full, with patients staying up to a maximum of 8 weeks in which they receive all the necessary support to live a healthy, stable life at home.

The respite centre’s staff work with patients to help them understand their conditions, how to care for themselves, provide their own treatment and live positively (i.e. practice safe sex, abstain from drinking and smoking, eat healthily and so on) once they leave the Respite Care facility. Patients also receive counseling alongside family members in an effort to reintegrate them into a supportive family home life. An aftercare program ensures that the patient is returning to a clean, weather proof home, so that they may continue on their road to good health.

One of the goals of the Respite Care Centre is to advocate change, working towards eradicating the HIV/Aids stigma in our community. Our hope is to improve the lives of individuals who are infected with chronic illness, and encourage them to become productive and accepted individuals who make a difference in society.

Despite its enormous importance in the community, this project is always short of funding because the local government department doesn’t have sufficient budget to cover all the costs. We are therefore always looking for ways to fundraise for this critical project which provides a lifeline to those young people who have been most devasted by HIV/AIDS and TB. Our highest priorities at the moment are:

Donations of medical supplies to enable the Nurses and caregivers in all our projects to provide proper medical care to our children, babies and patients. We are always in need of the following which can all be found in a pharmacy or supermarket: bandages (75/100mm), steristrips, disposable gloves, gauze (100x100x8mm), Micropore (48x3mm), elastoplast strips, cotton wool buds, cotton wool rolls, surgical spirit, aqueous cream and surgical masks.

Skilled volunteers or donations to help with repairs and maintenance. With 16 patients plus a full time staff and a clinic area, the building is under constant pressure from all the activity. Target areas include fixing broken plumbing, repairing and revarnishing the floors and repainting the walls.

Support with the funding for the professional medical staff including our experienced doctors and nurses who provide essential care to the patients. Unfortunately funding available from government only offers a basic wage and this is not enough to cover skilled professional staff. Their roles at the Respite Centre are so imporatnt, given the wealth of experience they have gained in HIV/AIDS and TB which is returned back to the community through caring for the patients. Funding gaps range up to R4000 per month per professional staff member.

If you are interested in helping out or would like more information about this invaluable project, please do contact the office.

Many thanks for all your support