Hospice Africa Uganda Volunteer
“My experience of Hospice in Uganda was very different to what I expected before I set off from my home in France. I expected to be sad and I expected to have to grit my teeth and try very hard to lift the spirit of the people around me. How wrong I was – and how much the very opposite turned out to be true! I found my spirit being lifted by people who were dying but showed a sense of fun and positivity that was absolutely extraordinary. I learned a lot about life, not death.”
Bob, volunteer with Hospice Africa France, 2013
Volunteering with us can change your lifetime outlook and will give you a greater vision of the needs of the world which can be met with compassion and sensitivity.
Both Ugandan and international volunteers are essential to meet our needs. International volunteers on short and medium-term placement pay a modest contribution to HAU as a reward for their learning experience. Unskilled volunteers pay $50 per week.
Find some tips for the international volunteers here.
For more information and to apply for a volunteering placement or internship, please contact Tracy Tusaba firstname.lastname@example.org. Inform on where you think you might serve, your objectives and your intended dates of placement.
- Medical and Paramedical Professional Placement 1.1. Undergraduate electives
We offer placements for elective students from medicine, nursing, social work, spiritual advisors in training and other para medical services related to palliative care in Africa.
Hospice Africa is a uniquely African experience, demonstrating how palliative care can be culturally appropriate and affordable in an African country. This is very different to services in the western hemisphere. It is based on the values of Dame Cicely Saunders and our Ethos, demonstrating a caring and compassionate service tailored to the very advanced cancers and illnesses that we see here. Because less than 5% reach curative services and more than 50% will not have seen a health worker, our teams have to be highly trained in diagnosis and treatment as well as meeting social, economic, psychological and cultural and spiritual needs, so essential in this African setting.
1.2. Postgraduate and professional placements
We offer placements from 1-12 months or more, for volunteer doctors who wish to take time out from their own structured schedules before or during their specialist training.
We also encourage doctors within Uganda and other African countries, who wish to practice palliative care to volunteer with us from 1 month or more.
Volunteering can take place in our main Hospice in Kampala or in the rural areas with Mobile Hospice Mbarara in South West Uganda, or Little hospice Hoima in North West Uganda.
- Research Placements
Undergraduate students on electives are encouraged to do a short research or audit while with us.
Post graduate degree students for masters or for PhD are welcome to carry out their research for their dissertations with HAU.
If you have a large research including direct patient contact, you may need to get ethical approval from our HAU Research and Ethics Committee (HAUREC) which then has to be approved from the national REC. As a consequence this must be planned 6 months ahead.
Our research and clinical departments are willing to help you decide which is the most appropriate research for you and for our patients and families.
- Non-Medical Placements
Professional volunteers, such as accountants, communications professionals, administrators, recent graduates and others, get a valuable experience within a sound and quality work environment, while make essential contributions for the work towards the patients in pain and suffering in Uganda and in Africa.
- Support Volunteers
4.1. Community Volunteers (CVWs)
They are members of their community who have been accepted by their community and their leader (LC3), to identify and refer patients who are in suffering from cancer and/or AIDS and to alert the clinical team who will go, and assess and provide holistic care to the patient and the family.
Their role is later on to give basic nursing support to families in the community with sick members.
They all have a week training at Hospice Africa Uganda. They might be provided a bicycle, after three months of services, if funding allow. These volunteers are specialists in their own way, mobilising other helpers in their communities, giving talks at community meetings about early detection of cancer and recommending treatment lines for patients.
Some of these volunteers have advanced in their communities, one becoming an LC chairperson while others are seen as leaders in their communities.
See the article “‘A Bridge to the Hospice: the impact of a Community Volunteer Programme in Uganda” published in 2009 here.
4.2. Day care volunteers
A team of volunteers comes together on the Day Care once in a week or twice in a month depending on each of the three sites, to support the clinical team in caring for the patients. They look after children, take part in games with the children, teaching and child minding. They support adults with counselling, washing and caring. They listen to the patients’ needs and offer them new skills, as bead making, cooking, language classes…etc.
4.3. Church volunteers
These are members of a Church usually belonging to the Mother’s Union, St Vincent de Paul associations or other groups to help their Church members. Together with their priest, pastor or Imam, they are asked to support day care monthly or more frequently in the Church or Mosque premises. Patients in the community come for support, counselling and a good meal provided by the volunteers. A palliative care nurse will attend and see the sick members. Prayer groups can be formed among patients, praying for intentions in their communities and the world. In the following meeting sharing their experiences as special prayer advocates for the needs of all.
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