Paediatric Care

Umodzi is a Chichewa word meaning ‘unity’. It is also the name of the children’s palliative care team in Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. We see the children who have incurable disease e.g. cancer, HIV, heart disease or brain damage. While the children are in hospital, the Umodzi team of two clinicians, two nurses and a play lady seek to improve the quality of life for them and their families. We provide medicine, information, help with the extra expense of having a child in hospital, and then visit them after they get home. QECH is a government hospital, with relatively few staff and facilities. Most of the patients are poor, and many travel a long distance to hospital, arriving with little food and possessions. Extra help for families struggling to care for a child who is not going to recover makes a huge difference.

Home visits

The team visits children at home who are unable to travel back to the hospital but need further help. This can mean the difference between them receiving the strong pain killers they need or having to do without. Along with medicines, we can take food and extra equipment, and the visit provides support for families caring for a chronically sick child.

Outpatient care

Some children return to see the Umodzi team in the clinic after they have gone home from hospital. They can be seen in our office in a quiet and friendly setting, with room to play. We supplement the drugs that the government hospital pharmacy can provide, and take time to listen to problems. Patients become our friends over months and some carers return after their child’s death to talk about what happened. We are working within the paediatric ARV clinic to contribute our skills and provide a play lady.