Compassionate Korail - the strength of volunteering

Friday, 19 February 2021

Compassionate Korail - the strength of volunteering

 

 

For the past four years, WHPCA has been working in partnership with BSMMU on Compassionate Korail -  a home-based community palliative care project in the informal settlement of Korail in Dhaka, Bangladesh. External funding for the project has now come to an end. However, we are delighted that the activities will be on-going.  The Palliative Care Society of Bangladesh has worked hard to raise funds to ensure the continuation of home-based care in Korail. The Korail community based organisation which co-ordinates work in the community has also committed to supporting the work.

 

WHPCA would like to thank the team at BSMMU for all the dedication and hard work they have put into setting up this innovative project in Korail.  Over the four years, the team has supported 693 people with palliative care needs. The 12 Palliative Care Assistants (PCAs), who provide the first line support have done 23,000 home visits during this time! Doctors, nurses and physiotherapists also did over 3,700 home visits. 

An important part of providing palliative care is to ensure the whole family is supported. The team worked to support carers both individually, but also bringing carers together to share their stories. 

“I used to think that only me and my family is suffering like this but today I understood that there have been others who are suffering like us or even worse. This discussion session allowed us to share our feelings, thoughts and sufferings with each other. Now, I am feeling light from inside. I also learned the importance of providing physical exercise to a stroke patient. Thank you so much for arranging such a useful meeting for us.” Carer of stroke patient

 

A key component of Compassionate Korail was to strengthen the involvement of community members to support one another. The PCAs held many courtyard meetings explaining what palliative care is and how they could be involved and support their neighbours. Nearly 100 people were trained as volunteers and over 40 of them are actively involved in raising awareness, fundraising and caring for patients.  We have seen many examples of neighbours reaching out to offer support to neighbours such as the neighbours providing special food to a woman with multiple age-related illness who lived alone; or the man who provided a space at his stall for a neighbour to sell eggs so she could have a small income; or the people who arranged to pay the rent for a woman living with cancer who was evicted because she could not pay her rent.  These are just a few of the many examples of how people in Korail have made a difference to the lives of people with palliative care needs.

 

It is wonderful to know that with local support from the wider Dhaka community, the care and support will continue for the people with palliative care needs in Korail. And, while our formal partnership on this project may have come to an end, we look forward to continuing to work with BSMMU on other projects. We wish you every success with the next phase of the project.

Lessons learnt from the project will be made available in different ways in the coming months.