Hospices of Hope, a British non-governmental organization which offers palliative care to cancer and terminally ill patients in southeast Europe, says it is extra facing challenges in the four countries where it operates due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer Casa Sperantei, the charity’s Romanian branch, Mihaela Nemtanu, said Tuesday that there has been “a huge increase in the numbers of patients caused by the state discharging cancer patients from its hospitals to make way for corona virus sufferers.”
She says funding has become scarce due to “the uncertain economic climate,” and there is a “constant battle to source protective equipment.”
She warned that the organization had just one week’s supply of PPE or protective equipment left and said basic items like disinfectant were running low.
She said there was added uncertainty as “members of the medical team can be seconded by the state system. As far as possible, the hospice is focusing on telemedicine.
The organization which also has a hospice in Serbia said it was able to pay staff this month “but after that the future is uncertain. For legal reasons, the team cannot be reduced in size. So far there is no government money to help.”
She said lockdown rules there were so strict that “patients cannot get home from the hospital when they are discharged because there is no public transport available. Food and medicine deliveries are not available.”
In Albania and Moldova, hospice mobile teams are continuing to deliver medicines and basic supplies “but again are struggling to source protective equipment.”
The organization launched a Corina Virus Emergency Appeal and has received 60,000 British pounds in donations and a grant of 50,000 British pounds which is for COVID 19 related activity in Serbia, Moldova and Albania.
“There is still a long way to go to make up the funding shortfall of 460,000 British pounds that we face but we are very close to reaching a quarter of the Appeal target,” it said.
The organization’s motto „everyone deserves to love and die with dignity and without pain,” was founded by Graham Perolls in 1991 following a trip to Romania.
It is the leading hospice care organization in southeast Europe, providing support to thousands of terminally ill children and adults in Romania, Moldova and Serbia.