PERRYSBURG (WTVG) - Two people traveled thousands of miles to our corner of the world to learn more about helping patients at the end of their lives.
Hospice of Northwest Ohio has a long-standing partnership with a hospice program in Africa. Molly Banda is a palliative care nurse. Winasi Boma is the chief hospital administrator from St. Luke's in Malawi. They have been in northwest Ohio for about a month, learning and sharing information.
This visit is part of a 13-year partnership. There are a lot of differences between Ohio and Malawi, but there are also plenty of similarities. Making sure people get the best end-of-life-care possible is one of them.
There are a lot of challenges when it comes to providing that care in Malawi, including paying for it. In Malawi, it is not a reimbursed service, so it's done through private fundraising they do on their own.
There's only one doctor, three nurses and a program director at St.Luke's. With the help of volunteers, they see dozens of patients every month.
The caregivers often have to walk or ride bikes for miles to see patients. In addition to medical care, they also provide basic necessities like food and blankets.
Many of the employees at Hospice of Northwest Ohio donate their own money every year to help St. Luke's continue its work. The money is used for things like medication, fuel and nutritional supplements. If you'd like to make a donation to St. Luke's, you can do that directly.
Molly and Winasi head back to Malawi next week. They were excited to be here this time of year because neither of them had ever seen snow before.