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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 7 April, 2020
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Irish people donate €90k to cancer patients in Uganda

Some 95% of people with cancer there will never access treatment such as chemotherapy, radiology or oncology.

HAI volunteers
HAI volunteers

AN IRISH CHARITY has donated €90,000 to help palliative care patients in Uganda.

Hospice Africa Ireland (HAI) today announced the donation has been given to Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU), a charity whose mission is to provide palliative care.

The €90,000 will go towards supporting clinical services including hiring two new nurses, employing a driver for a mobile hospice and paying the cost of maintenance of a car in a third hospice.

The money will also upgrade the children day-care room and programmes at the three hospice sites in Uganda which HAU operates.

HAI chair, Tomás Keys, said it is appropriate the money is being donated while Ireland marks the centenary of the Easter Rising.

“This week we remember the call for “equal rights and equal opportunities” for all which was made 100 years ago in the 1916 Proclamation. HAU seeks to promote the human right to freedom from pain and equal opportunities for all to access end-of-life care,” Keys said

HAU cares for more than 2,000 seriously ill and dying patients each month. The group operates three hospices (Kampala, Mbarara and Hoima) and home care teams deliver the care to patients in their homes.

One radiotherapy machine in the country 

HAI said that 95% of people with cancer in Uganda will never access treatment such as chemotherapy, radiology or oncology. There is only one radiotherapy machine for the entire country, which has an estimated population 39 million, and that is often broken.

As a result, HAI says, there needs to be “a strong focus on palliative care and ensuring that patients die in peace and comfort and pain-free”.

The €90,000 was raised through individual and institutional donations.

“We are delighted with all of the support which we have received from the Irish Hospice Foundation and Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross as well as individual donors who contribute €10 and €20 per month,” Keys said.

merriman Dr Anne Merriman Source: Hospice Africa

HAU was established in 1993 by Dr Anne Merriman, who was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in 2014. Merriman received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad in 2013 for her work in developing hospice and palliative care in Africa. She will be a guest of the government at the Easter Rising commemorations in the GPO on Sunday.

Merriman, who is from Liverpool, did her medical training in University College Dublin.

She thanked the public for their fundraising efforts, stating: “Without the support of Irish people we would not be accessing as many patients as we do. Having four Irish grandparents and studied medicine in UCD, I feel very connected with the Irish people who have been huge supporters of HAU since we set up in 1993.”

More information on the charity can be read here.

Text HAI to 50300 to donate €2 (text costs €2, HAI will receive a minimum of €1.63).
Provider: LIKECHARITY; Helpline: 076 6805278.

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Órla Ryan

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