Mawote's Story

Mawote* was a 29 year old lactating mother in Jui, a village situated on the outskirts of Freetown. Her Husband died some five years ago, leaving four children. Left alone to fend for herself and the children, she sold charcoal and fire wood to provide the one meal per day for the children. As a widow, Mawote’s life continued this way until last year when she became pregnant. She did not go to any clinic because of the many hours spent in the waiting rooms – for Mawote, going without selling for a day, meant no food for her children or herself. “Because I do not have money, my neighbor mid-wifed me with twins three months ago,” said Mawote.

Mawote experienced severe illness just after the delivery at home. She was rushed to the Cottage Hospital in Freetown three days later when her condition degenerated considerably. She was reported to have been admitted for one week and then referred to the Connaught Hospital for further management.

Sadly, Mawote was advised not to breast feed the children but to return both to relatives for care at home whilst she was being treated in the hospital. She received treatment for maternal complications for two weeks and discharged home. “I arrived home yesterday only to be informed that one of my twins have died’, she lamented as tears ran down her chin. It is this story that persuaded her neighbors to contact a trained community palliative care volunteer in the neighborhood. Mawote was referred to The Shepherd’s Hospice and investigated for HIV and TB, both conditions proving positive. As a co-infected patient for TB and HIV, she was started on treatment for TB and HIV.

Mawote died two months after reaching the community palliative care team, leaving three orphans. But her symptoms were well controlled and her loved ones were supported by TSH in giving care. Whilst HIV and TB are considered not deadly any longer, yet it is not so in Sierra Leone

*Patient's name has been changed

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