Namayanja Harriet aged 43 years a resident, Mayuge district Eastern Uganda is a palliative care patient who had remained very weak; stressed and unstable despite the proper medical diagnosis and treatment regime. The health worker was worried and was contemplating referral for advanced medical examination and support to Harriet.
In one of the Patients’ rights community outreach sensitization sessions organized jointly by Jinja home care and UGANET. Harriet who with difficulty attended the session; among other clients requested to meet the lawyer after the sensitization session.
Harriet disclosed to the lawyer that her son was disturbing her which has exposed her to psychological torture. Her son had dropped out of school because he did not perform well after senior four and that she could not share with the health worker because to her it wasn’t a health issue. Harriet had all her hopes in her son and the two hard instead turned into enemies since the boy could not continue with education and was to turn into a public nuisance.
The lawyer counselled her and requested her to bring the son to her so that they have a chat, later the lawyer had a one on one session with Harriet’s son; shared a lot on education; care and support needs of his mother, his right to education and his responsibility as a child to his parents, among others.
On 6th May 2016 (five months after the initial counselling session with Harriet’s son), the lawyer was at Mayuge health Centre 111 for her usual out Palliative care work; when she was approached and greeted with a lot of excitement by Harriet who could not hold her tears back when she saw the lawyer, She cried out! thank you very much for what you did for me! Your advice changed my son! He is now at school! He is pursuing a certificate in motor vehicle mechanics. I am so happy and at peace now.
Harriet is now back to her cervical cancer drugs; and according to the health worker she is now responding to the treatment.
Like Harriet; many palliative care patients have social problems that look easy but impact badly on their health and treatment response. Many other patients that are not responding to treatment and are not seeking support from the social worker or lawyer will be followed up and engaged professionally so that they can disclose and work with the lawyers and others to mitigate the non-medical challenges.