Hospice Chautauqua County has formed a partnership with a ministry in Tanzania to share ideas on hospice and palliative care.
Chaplain John Mayo Safari and Dr. Christian Finda of Karatu, Tanzania visited Jamestown recently. While here they learned about the partnership between Hospice Chautauqua County's palliative care and their palliative care in Tanzania with the intention of bringing those experiences and ideas back with them to educate their partners.
They visited a number of area organizations including the Robert H. Jackson Center, United Way, Red Cross, WCA, DJDC, the mayor's office, and will be visiting with other hospitals and going on visits with Hospice staff to help care for the Chautauqua County community.
Photo by Dusten Rader
Pictured are palliative care partners Chaplain John Mayo Safari and Dr. Christian Finda from Tanzania with Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Ron Sellers, president and CEO of Hospice, and Shauna Anderson, vice president of clinical services for Hospice.
The partnership started when Hospice Chautauqua County staff went on mission trip to Karatu, Tanzania in 2011, said Shauna Anderson, vice president of clinical services.
"Our previous medical director, Dr. Kristopher Hartwig, went to set up Hospice and palliative care in Tanzania," said Anderson. "We went over with his assistant to work with their team to make patient visits. We learned a lot about their issues, which actually are very similar to our issues, because people are people wherever you go."
This year part of the Tanzanian team including Safari and Dr. Finda were invited to come to Jamestown. Anderson hopes the program will continue so that in 2013 Hospice Chautauqua County can visit Karatu again.
"We've learned from it, they've learned from it, and everybody benefits because the patients and their families are most important," Anderson said.
Ron Sellers, president and CEO of Hospice, is also very happy with how the partnership is progressing, he said.
"For them to visit us is a gift," Sellers stated. "We have a strong desire to take what we know about delivering end of life care and sharing it with others. We also have a tremendous need to learn how others do it with very limited resources, and in Tanzania they have none. So, we made a commitment to ourselves, and our board of directors blessed it, to find a Hospice in Africa that we could form a partnership with."
Sellers asked Dr. Donald F. Brautigam of Westfield Family Physicians, who does this sort of mission work often, to recommend a place in Africa for Hospice to get involved. He recommended Tanzania.
"Karatu, Tanzania is a small village in the Serengeti just south of Mount Kilimanjaro," said Sellers. "We sent seven people, and when they came back they said it was a life-changing experience that would make them never complain about what they didn't have again, and to make sure that we help others have more than they've had before. The next step was to have them come here for a visit, and continue doing so every other year to become friendly partners who work collaboratively. I hope that they bring back with them the ability to say, 'I can, and I will.'"
Chaplain Safari and Dr. Finda spoke at an open house at Hospice Chautauqua County in which members of the community, staff and dignitaries such as Assemblyman Andy Goodell were invited. During the open house Safari and Dr. Finda presented the participants with gifts from Tanzania such as jewelry, traditional garb, coffee and tea, and statues of giraffes, which are the symbol of Tanzania.
"This is a great opportunity for us to learn from them and for them to learn from us," said Goodell. "I think it is a reflection of the incredible quality and service that is rendered here in Chautauqua County. So, I'm here to welcome our visitors on behalf of the state of New York, and to express our appreciation for their hospitality while our delegation was there."
Safari and Dr. Finda spoke about the importance of cultural partnerships within organizations, and expressed the needs within palliative care across the nations.
"My friend (Dr. Finda) and I came from Tanzania as a response to the invitation from our friends in Chautauqua," said Safari. "We work with a palliative care ministry in Tanzania that was initiated by Dr. Kristopher Hartwig who built a bridge between them and us. This is a wonderful country, I like it, and the people we meet are so generous and welcoming."
Safari continued on about the challenges that his country faces including drought, lack of technology, medical care and awareness of terminal illnesses.
"Here you have so many waters," said Safari. "And in our area the problem is drought. If you have no waters, you have no trees. So, we've been enjoying all the trees around here. ... We came here to do a presentation about our ministry and what (our ministry is) doing.
"We brought pictures of the villages we visit, the situation we face and the homes of people. We want to show what we have done, what are our challenges and what we hope to achieve through future plans. We hope to share with our friends with a capacity so that they may think to support some of our activities."
For more information or to get involved, call Hospice Chautauqua County at 338-0033.
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