Amanda, a Nurse Manager in Day Oncology at Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne, Australia relates her experience as part of of a healthcare team at St. Philips Mission, Swaziland.
“Swaziland was an adventure in a land about which I had very little prior knowledge: a land I have discovered is filled with people ravaged by HIV and death. A land filled with children who have seen far too much sickness and death and who live within a culture that has a complex and difficult psyche to unpack, undo understand. This adventure was within a healthcare team trip to St. Philips Mission, where Cabrini Ministries provides comprehensive care to those infected and affected by HIV, AIDS and TB. Our healthcare team was comprised of both Australian and Swazi healthcare and childcare workers. We ventured out to the surrounding schools each day to provide health assessments and HIV/TB screening opportunities. The highly tuned clinical skills of the Swazi health care nurses and pharmacist were invaluable and much admired.Our clinics were simple set ups at schools within the within the local Chiefdoms. The clinic necessities were very basic such as using sheets strung from one wall to the other to create a privacy screen. Each day lines of children and their guardians gathered at the school doors waiting for what was, for many, their first opportunity to have what troubled them assessed. Swollen tummies, ringworm, skin infections, rotten and tender teeth, chest infections, swollen and tender lymph nodes, cough and STDs were all common sights. It was an important opportunity for the Swazi healthcare team to screen for HIV and TB and to identify children who might be in danger of mistreatment within their homesteads. The voices of the children, their clicks and ‘tsks’ within their language, is so lovely; their singing is beautiful; their dancing, their smiles and their beauty is obvious despite the disease that haunts them; a person would have to be made of stone to not be touched by the need in this land but also by the care and attention that is being provided by the staff at Cabrini Missions.
I was able to meet two of the most amazing people I feel I will ever meet in my life, Executive Director, Sr. Diane Dalle Molle, MSC and Deputy Executive Director, Sr. Barbara Staley, MSC. Sr Barbara and Sr Diane are gutsy, highly intelligent, awe-inspiring, passionate, compassionate and wise. In order to make a difference in Swaziland they have had to be skilled and tough negotiators; fearless and strong.”
~ submitted by Helen Taylor for the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Weekly Update, Nov 29, 2012