Friday, December 11, 2009

Advocacy work at Kwa Magwaza hospital Melmoth

Hi everyone. Advocacy for me means helping people to fight for change in their lives, is like bringing change no matter how small it is and also show love and care and also to bring hope to those who are hopeless because of many reasons no matter how little you can do to contribute.
Wednesday night I couldn't sleep because I was guilty that I didn't do enough in terms of helping the woman who came and fell on my chest crying, weak, and hopeless because she was sick and treated badly by the hospital and being hiv positive. I could hear my voice saying to her "be strong, you are going to be okay."My conscience kept on asking me that how can I tell a person to be strong when she is weak, how can I say she is going to be fine when i know that she is not going to be fine if I don't do something? I was struggling to find something that i could do to try and help that woman, that's how i discovered what advocacy means for me.
I called few members form the support group to come with me to the hospital with the sick woman. We were nine members at the end, and we went to the hospital and asked to see the doctor in charge in the ARV clinic. The doctor is heartless and I wish he should be taken out of his profession and out of the hospital as well. We asked him difficult question and we were fighting and we couldn't keep quite until the hospital security guards wre called to kick us out of the clinic. We didn't leave the hospital but we waited for her to be attended to at the Out patients Department and we promised the guards that we are not going to go until we are satisfied that the woman has been treated with dignity. We met with the HR manager and promised him that we are taking the matter to the provincial minister of health and he asked us to wait for the senior doctor on Monday the 14th to meet with and discuss this issue with him because he has already taken the woman's file to help her. The woman also witnessed that that has happened.
When we came back I realised that the woman was stronger than the morning and she was smiling and she appreciated our support and she said she felt loved and cared for. She said she felt surrounded by people and that alone brings hope to her that something wonderful will happen to her life.
In conclusion I believe that if we as community workers we can learn that saying is not actual doing. We need to take risks in order to bring change and we need to stand together. I felt peaceful afterwards because my conscience could tell me that I've tried rather than sayin "be strong"when I really don't know what a person is going through. I am looking forward to meeting with the senior doctor on Monday!


jenny said...

Grace - it was good to read that you have come to a sense of what advocacy means to you . What this made me think about too was the fine line between being with and supporting someone to stand up for themselves and standing up on behalf of - I think that when people feel as this woman obviously felt unsupported the line moves to standing up on behalf of - but as the person moves to feeling stronger we need to help her stand up for herself and offer her the support to do so- is it possible to interview the woman about the experience and ask her what she found helpful - what she learned from it - becuse i think that would be an important next step - I can see that you are working and thinking hard congratulations and by the way really enjoyed your writing about kwamagwaza experience - for the 1st time got a sense of you in your writing which is what i think is important in writing

Amber said...

Grace- this is an amazing story of advocacy and it shows your tremendous humanity + deep caring. You are doing great work.