Thursday, 10 October 2019
A Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) is a disease that is not transmissible from person to person. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), NCDs are the biggest disease killer worldwide.
Dying from a NCD is also the largest cause of death in India, with one in four people dying from a NCD before the age of 70. Working in a region of 42 villages in a poor state in impoverished North India, the CHETNA Project works to prevent NCDs by creating awareness and implementing screening strategies. The team also improves the quality of life for those living with diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. One of the main ways this is achieved is by providing palliative care and affordable clinical services.
In the region where CHETNA work, many families abide by the values of a shame-based culture. Personal honour and how others perceive an individual’s social standing is often regarded as more important than individual values of right and wrong. SIM partners with CHETNA as they work to empower people in a number of villages by providing training in basic healthcare, literacy and income-generating projects.
The value system often means that families will often hide away sick family members from the community in fear of the judgement they will receive.
The lack of knowledge surrounding Non-Communicable Diseases in villages also sees sick people neglected by their families, due to the fear that the sickness is infectious.
However, striving to outwork the compassion of Jesus, CHETNA workers are restoring value to those with chronic illness through their home-based care services. Family caregivers are being trained and impoverished individuals are receiving access to a Palliative Care ward.
One man who received vital palliative care from the CHETNA team was Chiku*.
Chiku chewed tobacco habitually for many years. One day, a tooth started hurting. He noticed it was loose and smelly. Chiku went to the nearby clinic where his tooth was extracted and he was given a duplicate tooth. However, he encountered more issues. After two months, he was referred to a cancer hospital and biopsy results confirmed he had mouth cancer. This news devastated Chiku and his whole family. A landless labourer living with his family in a straw hut, he was the main income earner. The family knew they would not be able to afford treatment and they would struggle to afford anything without his small but important income.
When the CHETNA team visited Chiku, they found that he had been neglected by his family. Thinking cancer is contagious, Chiku’s family left him alone in a corner of the house. His abscesses were big and painful, he had a fever and he had lost weight due to not eating. His clothes and bedding were dirty as they had been unwashed for weeks.
The CHETNA team washed and cleaned Chiku, dressed his wound and gave him pain relief medicine. They cleaned his room, changed his bedsheet and gave him food to eat. His family were shocked to learn that cancer was not contagious. The team taught Chiku’s son how to look after him, dress his wounds and prevent bedsores. They also left behind sterilised dressing materials.
In the next visit, the team found Chiku sitting happily with clean clothes and a clean bed sheet. He greeted the staff who were delighted to hear that the family is regularly cleaning his room and the house, giving him baths and clean clothes and giving him food.
During the following visit, the CHETNA team learned that Chiku had relational issues with his eldest son and daughter-in-law. After providing home-based care, the team prayed for forgiveness and healing for Chiku and his eldest son.
In subsequent visits, the CHETNA staff prayerfully talked to Chiku and his family about the nearness of death and the importance of forgiveness and family unity. They facilitated an open discussion between the family. His son and daughter-in asked for forgiveness and Chiku said he forgave both of them. They expressed a sense of joy after forgiving one another. The CHETNA staff continued to pray with Chiku and his family.
*Name changed to protect identity. Representative image used. Photo: Di Marshall
Pray that the CHETNA team will continue to educate communities about how to care for sick family members. Pray for strength for the CHETNA team as they seek to display God’s love and compassion.
You can make a difference in the lives of families suffering from Non-Communicable Diseases through CHETNA (98260)! Give online here
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