Wednesday, 10 August 2022
A Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) is a disease that is not transmissible from person to person. In some parts of Asia, the lack of knowledge surrounding NCDs sees sick people neglected by their families due to the fear that the sickness is infectious.
CHETNA, a project in Asia that partners with SIMaid, seeks to support people who are facing stigmatisation because they have a disease. Motivated by the compassion of Christ, the heart of CHETNA is to improve the quality of life for people who have been diagnosed with chronic and life-limiting illnesses. The team works to prevent NCDs by conducting screening and awareness programs in communities. Screenings focus primarily on cancer, diabetes and hypertension. The team also provides palliative care to patients and support to their families. Through CHETNA’s education and example, families are learning how to care for the most vulnerable in their community.
When Micah* was diagnosed with mouth cancer, his eldest son demanded that he leave the house, believing that if his father remained with them, the other family members would ‘catch’ his cancer so at the age of 56, Micah was living alone in a neighbour’s manger with goats and a cow. Though his changed living conditions must have made neighbours inquisitive, Micah tried desperately to hide his cancer from others in the community because of the fear of being ostracised.
While Micah endured the social and emotional pain of rejection, the physical pain eventually became unbearable and Micah planned to poison himself. With pain such that he could no longer eat, Micah knew he would not live much longer anyway. The next day, he set out determined to implement his plan and put an end to his suffering. His first task was to withdraw the money needed to purchase the poison. While he waited, Ravi* noticed him and his quiet tears. Ravi is one of the men the CHETNA team have trained in palliative care. He asked Micah why he was crying.
Micah explained his situation, his hopelessness and his plan to purchase poison and end his life. Ravi counselled and prayed with Micah and phoned the CHETNA team leader. The CHETNA team quickly met with Micah and assured him they would care for him.
The following day, the CHETNA team brought Micah, accompanied by his eldest son, to the local hospital to have his wounds dressed. As the doctor tended to Micah’s wound, pus came out of his abscess. Micah’s son could not help but notice the doctor, a complete stranger to his father, was dressing the wounds without apprehension or disgust – such a stark contrast to his refusal to allow his father to be anywhere near him.
With this experience and explanation from the CHETNA team, the son realised he could take care of his father without the risk of infection and he welcomed his father back into the home. The CHETNA team continues to provide palliative care for Micah, training and other practical support for the family, and much encouragement and prayer for them all.
*Names changed to protect identity
You can make a difference in the lives of those suffering from NCDs through a tax-deductible gift to SIMaid’s Community Transformation Fund (09320)! Give online at sim.org.au/transformcommunities
Pray for CHETNA’s patients and the CHETNA team as they diligently care for them.
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