TOI : They help HIV patients lead dignified lives
Self-confidence and moral support can beat all odds in life. A classic example is that of Keshava (name changed). The 42-year-old has been an HIV positive since 2004 and initially he was in a bad condition. Doctors too had given up on him. But today, Keshava is leading a dignified life. He could walk over 3km a day without any support.
"I did not think I could live. It's only because of self-confidence and moral support that I could survive," says Keshava. Initially, he did not take treatment due to financial constraints. He owned a petty shop to sustain his family. In 2011, his health deteriorated and he was bedridden, unable to even move his hands. Doctors sent him back home losing all hope, he added.
His mother Sathyavathi says she owes it all to the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM). "If my son is alive, it's only because of SVYM and its volunteers' moral support," she says.
Despite his failing health, he did small jobs like starting a mobile recharge shop to support his family.
Thanks to the palliative care facility of SVYM, the bedridden patients and their families get support. The facility, apart from taking care of patients, also helps their family members to avail governmental benefits. "Now, I am receiving widow pension and my son is getting pension from the government. Palliative care volunteers helped me get these benefits," said Sathyavathi.
The CD4 count in HIV patients should be above 350 but if the count falls below that, patients may become bedridden and the risks are very high, says district AIDS controller Dr T Raghu Kumar. Keshava had CD4 count below 50 when palliative care volunteers visited him in 2012.
Like him, more than 300 bedridden needy patients have availed palliative care. Today, some of them are leading a dignified life. "The goal is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. The need of palliative care is essential in terminal and chronic diseases as they are incurable and result in physical, psychological, socio-economic strain to individuals and their families," says palliative care volunteer Dr Deepak Murthy.
The palliative care facility has served 345 bedridden patients suffering from cancer, paralysis, spinal cord injury, severe neurological disorders, hypertension, gangrene, kidney failure, cerebral palsy and other illnesses since 2011. Initially, 88 patients were inducted into the programme. Palliative care operates with a team approach consisting of doctors, nurses, counsellors, social workers and volunteers visiting each patient's home and providing a holistic care for patients to improve the quality of life by using an array of skills at their doorstep.
Source: Times of India, Mysouru