Friday, October 4, 2002

While we're fretting about what priests are doing with boys and the priests are gathering above the bar to buck each other up , over in Africa, the Church is fighting a mighty battle against the ravages of HIV

The 234-bed St Mary’s serves a population of about 750 000 people in the west of Durban’s vast metropolis, 250 000 of whom are estimated to be living with HIV. It gets an 84 percent state subsidy and no one is turned away from the spotless hospital although the patient load has increased considerably as the HIV epidemic has turned into an Aids epidemic."Our patients are much sicker now than they were 10 years ago, and 50 percent of them are going to die," says Ross, who has been at St Mary’s for seven years. "We have had to change our expectations about who is going to get better, and also start to pay attention to caring for the carers."The hospital soon realised it could never deal with the demand, and has thus become heavily involved in community outreach. Its outreach team has trained a network of about 200 volunteers to help families to care for their dying relatives at home.

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