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DIC launches Hospital Angel Network

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A group of volunteers have come together to form the Hospital Angel Network (HAN) to assist the vulnerable at hospitals in the city. The Discover Islam Centre’s Hospital Angel launch on Saturday saw a full house at Islamia College’s auditorium where a committee of medical professionals spoke about their new initiative.

HAN is a non-governmental non-profit initiative by the Discover Islam Centre. This historic and noble project is the first of its kind has long been needed. It is aimed towards assisting hospital patients through voluntarism.

The project was started under the umbrella of Discover Islam, established in 2005 as a non-profit organization. It is a network committed to the development of credible volunteers who will be giving in-patients the necessary hospital care and palliative care. The aim of the project is to provide a volunteer service to various hospitals within the Western Cape. They would like to provide trained, capable, screened volunteers to support patients from any religious denomination.

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There is a deficient when it comes to doctor-patient supply and demand. The demand for medical attention is to great for the vast amount of ill patients. Hence the idea came to mind of starting a voluntarism project to deal with this problem where patients could be treated with dignity by addressing their needs.

“As healthcare workers workers we are burnt out and over worked. The need for psycho-emotional support is needed by patients but it is weighing us down. Too many patients need this attention and there are too little practitioners to deal with the demand. Our ultimate goal with this initiative is to benefit patients, staff and volunteers,” says chairperson of HAN, Dr Sumeshnee Khadija Naicker.

The committee expects to have a sustainable project with their volunteer system to offer ongoing support to patients by creating this network of support. Volunteers will receive formal training from medical health care professionals with workshops, de-briefing sessions and endorsed via the department of health and hospital FBU (Functional Business Units).

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By maintaining and promoting the message of giving of Islam and sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the initiative will offer volunteers spiritual and sensitive training. This training which will be offered by HAN committee members Khadija Naicker and Sedicka Laskery involves volunteers. They will get spiritual training to teach them about Islam, and sensitivity training where they will receive de-briefing training. This involves the volunteers sitting in group discussions and speaking about the issues that they have just confronted or that have traumatised them with patients. They will also receive extensive training of psychiatrists and partitive training to deal with terminally ill patients.

“If they are sitting by a patient that has cancer for instance, they will be able to deal with it as we offer de-briefing. We offer them a way to deal with the emotional trauma of this harsh industry,” says Laskery.

After the launch people were offered the opportunity to sign up as volunteer and make a donation of their choice. People were encouraged to give of their time and money to the initiative.

“We have not truly lived until we give to humanity. Only then do we truly know ourselves,” says Maulana Zakariyah Philander.

HAN spokesperson Taj Akleker agreed that charity was incumbent on mankind, not only in Islam but in humanity. The gift of giving is a sincere and open choice that brings us closer to our Maker, said Akleker.

“Charity knows no face. We are not obligated to serve God alone but those who are vulnerable,” says Akleker. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)


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