Memorial Day 2019

Dear Friends,
These are pictures from the memorial service yesterday. The prayers were led by Fr John Mary, a newly ordered priest in our local parish and our Sheik who comes to talk to our day care patients already. The Anglican priest was unable to attend, so Sarah from Accounts led the Anglican prayers.
The grieving relatives who had lost someone in hospice care this year, lit their candles from the big one and then planted it in the map of Africa with a sand bed. The wind and rain came and blew out the first ones but we managed to light them again as the sun came out. 
About 7 gave witnesses as to how their relative died, and there was a lot of hopelessness about how other services handle them when they have a seriously ill patient. But how they received comfort from HAU. There were more than 100 who attended and most of the 3 hours were in Luganda but some cried and I could follow their troubled minds. They ended with a meal and the chance to talk to our team.
The picture shows the youngest griever. She is Angel and  3 months old . She weighs only 3 Kilos. She was born by CS at 34 weeks gestation because Mum had cancer of the "throat". Mum died 3 weeks later. Baby now being brought up by sister in law with her own children. But needs to buy formula milk which will be supported by  the Founders fund. Thanks to all those who have helped with this and for all you are doing.

Prof Dr Anne Merriman, MBE, FRCPI, FRCPEdin, MSc(IntComHealth).          
Founder, Hospice Africa

Congress of SFAP / FISP Paris (12th - 15th June 2019) - Report by Jim Bennett President of Hospice Africa France 

A team from Hospice Africa France were very pleased to take part in the recent joint Congress of the French Palliative Care association (SFAP) and the International Francophone Palliative Care Association (FISP) in the Palais de Congrès in Paris. The theme of the congress was ‘Palliative care here and elsewhere’ and there was a strong emphasis on palliative care in Africa. The first plenary session concluded with a presentation from Benin which enthusiastically acknowledged the contribution of Hospice Africa in France and Uganda towards the establishment of affordable palliative care in francophone Africa. This was followed by a short but inspiring video presentation of Dr Anne Merriman, our founder.
The team of Jim Bennett, Louise Pauwels and Sylvie Dive capitalised on this introduction from our base at our stand answering the many questions and taking details of those nurses and doctors who expressed a wish to help in Africa in some way. At the same time, they helped defray the costs of attending the congress by selling the African goods which Sylvie had hauled in her baggage from Uganda.
This year for the first time we entered a poster in the poster competition. Our poster, which was sponsored by BML Anglo Agence and created by Louise graphically illustrates the fund raising efforts in Jugon-les-lacs watering the seeds of hope in Africa. It was much admired but was beaten to the prize by one of our alumni from Burkina Faso. Our poster can be admired in the Charity Shop.
The AGM of FISP was held at a sub meeting on Friday afternoon in the presence of the WHO head of palliative care. After a short presentation of HAF by Jim in which he referred to the great financial contribution of the ‘Charity Shop’ volunteers in Jugon -les-lacs, we were admitted to membership of FISP along with ACA2 from Bordeaux and AMCC from Belgium. The afternoon continued with presentations from Benin and Rwanda both of which acknowledged the contribution of HA towards the development of p.c. in francophone Africa.
There were many former participants of our francophone training at the congress, three of which, from Mauritania, Benin and Senegal were there thanks to bursaries from HAF which enabled them to attend the congress and then benefit from a study placement with major palliative care units in France.
Prof Benoit Burucoa, President of FISP, will be visiting HAU in July during the next francophone course to see for himself the ‘Merriman Method ‘of affordable palliative care and see the progress of pc in Uganda. We shall be working closely with him, FISP, ACA2, APCA and HAU to capitalise on the enthusiasm sparked by this conference.

Dinah - My First Visit to France

Sylvia Dive, a palliative care nurse trainer and the Coordinator of Hospice Africa Uganda’s Francophone International Programme explains more about the course, which IAHPC has been proud to support once again through our Traveling Scholarship grants.

Click Here
The sixth francophone introduction to palliative care began in Kampala on May 1st and continues until June 2nd. There are 23 participants from 9 countries. We have two participants from Mauritania for the first time.
The participants are currently in the middle of two weeks of practical placements with palliative care services in different parts of Uganda.
Support from the course has come from the Region of Brittany and the International Hospice and Palliative care Association but the major funding has come from our funds generated in the Charity Shop


Fishwives not only won the World Gourmand CookBook of the year award for the Charity Africa category (this was announced yesterday) but just now in China it has been announced it is THE FISH COOK BOOK OF THE YEAR beating hundreds of entries from all over the world!
The book is now available to buy on Amazon - all proceeds will continue to go to HAU

Photographs from the launch of the 'FISHWIVES' Cookbook

A new cookbook entitled 'Fishwives' has been produced by Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Kilkenny Ireland.  It is being sold  in aid of HAU and contains fish recipes from 78 women "Fishwives" from all backgrounds. Contributors include well known Irish chefs, a former deputy prime minister, business women and the 5 Donohoe sisters!

The book is available to buy from the website below.  It costs €20 plus a cost for package and posting abroad.


Support visit to Guinea - Conakry February 2016 - Report
Visit to Senegal - February 2016 - Report
Hospice Africa Uganda - 23rd Annual Report 2015-16
Article from Irish Independent Newspaper 1 May 2016

Meet little Pearl... my beautiful god-daughter
When Miriam Donohoe travelled to Uganda to volunteer in a hospice, she had no idea it would change her life, or that she would fall in love with a little girl

It was love at first sight. The moment those saucer-like brown eyes gazed into mine, I was smitten. And I felt this was going to be for life.

We met on January 4 this year, the day I arrived in Kampala, full of excitement and trepidation to volunteer with Hospice Africa Uganda, a charity whose mission is to ensure dying and seriously ill people in Africa have a peaceful and pain-free end of life.
My plan was to stay in Uganda for four weeks. I didn't bargain on still being here four months later. And I certainly didn't bargain on Pearl, and the way she would look at you, and the fact she would steal my heart.
Pearl is almost three years old. She is a tiny imp, bright as a button, and full of personality, mischief and fun. Her mum, Lydia, is 24 and unmarried, typical of so many young women in Uganda. Lydia got pregnant by Pearl's dad a second time last year and gave birth to Liam at the end of January. Again, typical in Uganda, Pearl's father is not around to support them.
Until Liam's birth, Lydia worked in the home of the founder of Hospice Africa and Hospice Africa Uganda, Dr Anne Merriman. 2014 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr Anne, who is almost 81, is an inspirational woman. She introduced palliative care to Africa in 1993 and over the last 23 years her charity has ensured that 27,000 people have had a dignified end to their life.
Dr Anne's house is full of love and activity. There are 10 dogs, six cats, and lots of visitors passing through. But best of all there is Ryan, aged 6, Vicky, aged 3, and Pearl, children of the girls who work there.
I lived with Dr Anne for three months and it was joyful to come home from hospice in the evening - often stressed after a tough day on a home visit to a dying patient - to be met by three cheeky faces waiting to be entertained by "Jaja " Miriam. (Jaja means grandmother in Uganda. I now have them trained to call me "Aunt Miriam" instead)
As I settled into life here, I began to learn a lot about the country and the culture. I was shocked to realise that education was not free and I saw first-hand how parents struggled to pay school fees so they could give their children a decent chance in life.
For people in low-paid jobs, there are three priorities in life: to provide a roof over the family's head; to feed them; and to get the fees so the children can go to school. The children of the girls who work for Dr Anne are lucky because they have "sponsors" - through Dr Anne's network - who pay their school fees. The girls and their children are part of Dr Anne's extended 'family'. She loves and cherishes each one dearly and takes a huge interest in their welfare and education.
One of the issues I struggle with here is the fact that so many women are second-class citizens and they face huge challenges - discrimination, low social status, lack of money, and risk of HIV/AIDS infection.
Men expect their women to be docile and subservient. They generally make the decisions and are often proud and boast of the fact that they have cheated on their wives. I have heard how men are unwilling to use condoms and force themselves on their wives or girlfriends. Dreadful in a country where HIV/AIDS is still prevalent.
Sadly, many young girls sell sex for economic survival. It is common for girls to become sexually active at a much younger age than men, adding to the incidences of HIV/AIDS.
Teenage pregnancy is also high and poses a huge risk to the health of both the mother and the baby.
Pearl's mother is a bright, pretty, intelligent woman with a bubbly personality. Lydia has completed a catering course and at one stage worked in the kitchen of an international school.
Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised by her dad, a good man who did his best for his family.
Lydia has a dream, and that is to bring Pearl and Liam abroad to live. She feels she and her family will have more opportunities there.
I was honoured and chuffed to be asked by Lydia to be Pearl's godmother. She had both her children christened at St Denis's Shrine in Munyonyo on April 10 by a wonderful Polish Franciscan priest, Father Adam Mutebi.
I knew that, unlike in Ireland, where god-parents don't often play an active role in their god-children's upbringing, being Pearl's godmother meant responsibilities. There is an expectation that I will guide and mentor her, and assist in any way I can with her upbringing.
As part of this role, I have decided to pay for Pearl's education. She starts kindergarten in Savannah Nursery School in Makindye, Kampala, in June, when she turns three. I visited the school last week. It's a happy, cheerful place.
Financially, it is not going to be a huge drain. Her term fee will be around €120 and I will also pay for her school uniform and books. To put this in context, the most Lydia can expect to earn a month with her current skills is €70. There is no way she could pay for her children's education as well.
I will get Pearl's school reports every term and will closely follow her progress, even when I am back in Ireland. I am looking forward to seeing her blossom and do well.
I am doing this for several reasons. Not to show off or be praised or to be told I am great. First off, I love Pearl. Secondly, I am lucky that I am in the financial position to be able to pay for her school fees. Thirdly, I would hate to think that Pearl might end up in the situation that so many young women in Uganda fall into. I would love to help her so she gets a decent education and a good chance at life.
I am also helping Lydia with fees to do a night course in Tourism and Administration. I know that with the help and guidance, Lydia can make a real go of her life. She has the brains to do it.
Pearl is only one of thousands of children in Uganda who would flourish if they got the right start in life. I have already reared my own two children, now aged 26 and 24. They have been very lucky and blessed with their lives and they are very supportive of Pearl, their little "god-sister".
The last four months have been life-changing for me. My experience here has put lots of things into perspective. I am proud to be involved with a charity that is giving people the greatest gift of all - that of a peaceful end of life.
And I am proud to be taking a little bit of Uganda home in my heart. A little person called Pearl.
Hospice Africa Uganda has Give a Chance projects in the UK, Denmark and the USA which support young patients, and children of patients, in their education. It is planning to start Give a Chance in Ireland later this year. If you would like to help email

Jim Bennets Home Visits in Uganda Feb. 2017
(Click to Download)

Dr Anne's interview in Singapore Medical Journal