“Caring Hands Initiative”

… Fr. Chilufya says Caring Hands Initiative is providing a Holistic Care to Cancer Patients in Zambia

By FrancisMaingaila.

Lusaka, Zambia24 – (June 3, 2024) – Zambia’s healthcare system is grappling with severe resource shortages, particularly in the realma of cancer care. The scarcity of critical resources, such as radiation therapy, underscores the vital role of initiatives like the Caring Hands Initiative in providing comprehensive support to cancer patients.

The Caring Hands Initiative takes a holistic approach to cancer care, addressing not only the medical needs of patients but also offering palliative care, emotional support, spiritual guidance, and pastoral care.

Fr. Charlie Chilufya is not only calling on compassionate individuals but also organizations to support cancer patients in Zambia and ensure that they lead a decent life.

“Our patients need more than just medical care; they need to feel that their community stands with them,” he urged.

“Every bit of support helps us to uphold their dignity and provide the care they so desperately need.”

The initiative’s expansion aims to reach more patients across Zambia, ensuring that even those in the most impoverished regions have access to the care and support they deserve.

Through Fr. Chilufya’s vision and dedication, Caring Hands is not just filling a gap in the healthcare system; it is creating a lifeline for those battling cancer, fostering a sense of hope and dignity amidst their struggles.

Gwen Ngoma emphasizes the critical needzź for patient support during cancer treatment, acknowledging the financial and emotional hurdles they encounter.

She underscores the necessity of holistic care, encompassing medical, nutritional, financial, and psychological aid to address patients’ multifaceted needs.

The stigma attached to cancer often results in patients feeling isolated, underscoring the importance of combating this stigma and offering emotional support.

Even seemingly small contributions, such as providing soap, can significantly improve patients’ well-being and are deeply valued.

Shortages of vital equipment like radiation machines present obstacles to effective cancer treatment, underscoring the need for support from various quarters.

The sheer volume of cancer patients underscores the urgency of the situation, highlighting the pressing need for support and care.

Ngoma calls for proactive involvement and collaboration to extend support and care to cancer patients and their families.

She urged the government to install three or more radiation machines at health facilities to enhance the fight against cancer.

Mwela Chisheta, a third-year medical student from Levi Mwanawasa Medical University (LMMU), emphasized the holistic needs of cancer patients.

This concept, supportive treatment, goes beyond traditional medical interventions like chemotherapy and radiation.

Patients facing terminal illnesses often endure prolonged stays without adequate emotional support, particularly those from distant locations.

“Some even contemplate suicide due to the overwhelming challenges they face. To alleviate their distress, we offer companionship and attentive listening alongside medical treatment. This approach fosters a sense of emotional well-being and connection,” he said.

Chisheta stressed that cancer patients require not only medical assistance but also spiritual, material, and other forms of support throughout their healing journey.

He urged well-wishers to collaborate with them to continue assisting individuals battling various types of cancer, such as cervical, prostate, and skin cancer.

Mubanga Nkandu, also a medical student at LMMU, said the endeavor to assist patients with terminal illnesses is now extending beyond Ottaka to regions without cancer centers, such as Ndola.

She said the goal is to provide holistic care, encompassing medical, spiritual, and physical support, to aid patients in managing their conditions.

Meanwhile, UNZA Chaplain Father Frank Taruwona highlighted several key aspects of the university’s program that aims to cultivate altruism among future medical professionals, emphasizing the importance of selflessly serving others.

The Helping Hands Outreach, an NGO initiative involving the church, students, and others, aims to provide palliative care guided by the principles of Ubuntu and compassion. The organization donated various items, including bathing soaps, washing powders, adult diapers, sanitary towels, cotton wool, and assorted fruits, to support cancer patients.

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