Caring for Carers

National Catholic Nurses Guild, La Verna, May 2007

Sr Alison Munro, OP

Care of the sick and those affected by AIDS

Care and support is at the forefront of the Church’s response, one that calls on care-givers to be in it for the long haul, and beyond the call of duty. Religious women and Catholic nurses spearhead the Church’s response to AIDS on our continent;  take them out of the equation, and the Church’s response to AIDS would largely collapse. By and large women bear the burden of the AIDS pandemic, caring for their own sick family members as well as for neighbours, and often also taking on the care and support of children affected by AIDS.   Most people still in South Africa who need treatment are not receiving it and  are dying untreated. Care-givers carry the emotional and psychological stresses of coping with so much sickness and dying.  Some care facilities have an average rate of more than one death per day, and most people who are dying are young. Traditional African healing alongside (sometimes in conflict with) western forms of healing needs to be addressed.

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