South Africa: assisting patients in an area devastated by AIDS
The work of the Order of Malta’s Relief Organisation, the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard, is ever increasing as it expands its outreach to help those stricken by poverty and AIDS in and around Mandeni, 100 km from Durban. The Order’s Hospice has one of the largest inpatient units in South Africa and every day helps hundreds of people, many previously abandoned, to be nursed with dignity. In 2010 staff and volunteers provided 319 patients with essential antiretroviral treatment through which the final stages of AIDS can be delayed for years, allowing patients to raise their children, keep their jobs and live an active life. Through this relief organisation the Order of Malta strives to break the cycles of poverty, malnutrition and sickness and provide help for the individual sick, lonely and poor.
Around two-thirds of the population in the area surrounding Mandeni are HIV Positive or suffer from AIDS, many of whom would not receive any care or medication without the work of the Order. Forty-two orphans currently live, are cared for and educated in the organisation’s Children’s Home.
The Order of Malta’s staff and volunteers are daily on the road conducting home visits in order to provide for patients who are unable to travel to its clinic in Mandeni to receive much-needed antiretroviral AIDS therapy. As well as providing counselling this includes administering drugs – necessary to take daily at regular intervals to ensure they are effective – to hundreds of patients. In 2010 the Order’s therapeutic counsellors made 3,212 home visits.