Kenya experiences many development challenges and a large proportion of the population live below the poverty line. The average life expectancy for a woman is just 48 years of age, due to the wide range of diseases they face on a daily basis. Many grandparents lose their children to HIV and are then forced to care for their grandchildren. This places enormous financial strain on Kenyan women forcing them to continue working their fields in order to provide a basic meal for their family. Due to the lack of government support, they can only receive aged care services if they can afford to pay for it themselves.
In Nepal, when the elderly fall ill and their family is no longer able to care for them, they are placed in an ‘elderly home’ where they will spend their final days. These homes resemble open space warehouses, where there are often 100+ beds lined up side by side with no dividers or privacy. Once they enter one of these facilities, the average life expectancy is just 7 days. The elderly will spend their remaining days on earth alone and often in fear. Once they pass, they are carried to the outdoor crematorium on the river bank and their ashes are swept into the river.
“Hearing about the lack of healthcare, and particularly aged care, within developing communities abroad highlights how fortunate we are in Australia to have support from our government and private institutions. Although we are always exploring how we could do more to support the elderly, it’s reassuring to know we live in a country where basic services and support is part of our healthcare system,” reflects Jelena Giro, Director of Altaira.
“At Altaira, we believe we can all work together to create a better ageing experience not just for Australians but for populations globally. Now more than ever, there are communities that need help. At a time when we are all experiencing the impact of the pandemic, where and when possible, we should all embrace the many opportunities to give back, and make a real positive impact. Generosity is what brings people together across the globe; we need to do what we can to enable everyone to receive quality care at all stages of their lives.”
World Youth International, based in Adelaide, has grown to become an organisation that facilitates opportunities for hundreds of volunteers each year to make a positive difference within poverty and disaster-stricken communities, providing healthcare and education to those who could not access it otherwise. Over the past decade, they have implemented and facilitated the delivery of Health Camps, which have treated over 10,000 patients from remote villages in Kenya. These Health Camps have been set up and run by teams of health professionals who participate in World Youth International’s Nurses In Action volunteer program.
Altaira’s Aged Care Health Camp will enable hundreds of people, particularly the elderly, to be tested for common illnesses such as malaria and HIV during a Health Camp. Testing stations and a pharmacy will be set up, where patients will also receive medication and wounds can be treated as required.
The world is a different place to how we knew it and the impact of pandemic is being felt far and wide. Countries like Kenya have been experiencing long term lockdowns and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel just yet. While the Nurses In Action program is grounded until travel restrictions ease, there are communities who have no access whatsoever to healthcare.
“Disasters such as the global pandemic affect us all; but those living in poverty are always the most vulnerable as it makes it even harder for them to break the cycle that so many families have lived in for generations. We have no doubt that Altaira’s commitment and generosity will make a difference in the lives of many people. We deeply appreciate Altaira’s support, and look forward to providing opportunities for Altaira staff, clients and partners to engage in our volunteering programs abroad when travel restrictions ease,” thanked Terry Hoey, General Manager of World Youth International.
If you’re also passionate about giving back, consider contributing to a World Youth International Health Camp by clicking here. If you are nurse or health care professional and would like to plan future trips, you can sign up in advance to the Nurses In Action program, which will run again as soon as travel restrictions ease.