Veronica Khosa – South Africa

Linked with the presentation of SOS Social Centre Mamelodi – South Africa.

Linked also with our presentation of Successful Social Entrepreneurs … a book review.

Veronica Khosa saw that the health care system in South Africa was unable to manage the AIDS crisis. A nurse by trade, she had visited hundreds of people with AIDS who were suffering alone in their homes, with no one around to provide simple care or pain relief. In response, she founded Tateni Home Care Nursing Services and instituted a community-based model capable of addressing the AIDS pandemic at the enormous scale of the problem. She spent years developing and professionalizing her basic home-care model, instituting an innovative system to provide training to thousands of unemployed youths so they could offer effective care to the people in their communities and families.

Veronica Khosa – South Africa

The government has adopted her model for the largest state in South Africa and it has since spread to more than fifty localities. Through the recognition of the world’s leading health organizations, the idea is spreading beyond South Africa. Khosa is now developing a community-based response to orphan care that she plans to spread nationally. (Read more on how to change the world).

Veronica Khosa is the coordinator and founder of Tateni home-based care organization. She sought out the partnership with SOS in order to address the overwhelming orphan problem she was confronted with when terminally ill patients who were receiving care from her organization passed away. “When SOS agreed to partner I was so happy to know that I was not alone – I had someone else to share burden.” When Veronica established Tateni it was the first home-based care project in South Africa. Formerly employed as a government nurse, Veronica was confronted by the fact that the hospitals had very little to offer PLWHAs in the way of care. She realized that to address the needs of people who were ill, their families had to be taught how to care for them. With regard to children from affected families, Veronica remarks, “How would you discover the situation ofchildren that need care, unless you go into the homes?” Veronica hopes that the partnership between SOS and Tateni will be able to further expand into the community and reach out to even more needy children. (Read more on SOS childrend’s villages).

She is also one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Everyone knows about Florence Nightingale, but most of us don’t know about the opposition she faced during Victorian times in pursuing her ambition of becoming a nurse. Thanks to her, the lives of thousands of British soldiers were saved during the Crimean war, at the cost of her health and personal life. (Read on Indian Journal of Medical Ethics).

Veronica Khosa was raised by her grandmother and aunt in a small rural area of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. A generous neighbor paid for Veronica’s schooling, and the young woman returned the favor by entering nursing, a profession that helps others. After a stint in 1957-60 working as student at a mission hospital, Veronica became a midwife in a Pretoria clinic. Traveling from home to home, Veronica discovered the importance of accommodating care to the values and beliefs of her patients. She recalls one instance when she was assisting a difficult delivery in a home sixty-five kilometers from the nearest hospital. Her client, in heavy labor, insisted on going outdoors to talk to the thunder and lightning raging outside. Veronica let her go. The woman returned to the house soaked but fully cooperative, and the baby was born ten minutes later. At the clinic, Veronica was asked to wash dishes because she was not a registered nurse. Believing that everyone is qualified to care for others, and shunning distinctions based on rank, she refused. She returned to school to finish her nursing degree and passed with honors in 1970. In 1990, she helped start a center in Pretoria to test for HIV/Aids, but the frustration of telling people they had HIV/Aids only to watch them die led her to resign after a few years. Hospitals would not admit people with HIV/Aids for fear that staff would catch the virus, so Veronica started asking the question, “Who is looking after people sick at home?” From that question, Tateni Home Care Services was born. (Read the rest of this long article on Ashoka Fellow Profile).

link: Ashoka’s changemakers.

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