This Nightingale can do with some help

Frank Maponya

Watching siblings, both under 12, caring for their ailing HIV-positive mother was enough for a Florence Nightingale to quit her job and take over their responsibilities.

The 11-year-old boy and his nine-year-old sister took turns to take care of their bedridden mom. Only one of them could go to school at a time.

Rosina Mokgaphane, who had been working as a professional nurse at a hospice in Benoni, Gauteng, since 1995, then stepped in.

She was home in Limpopo on holiday last December when she witnessed the plight of terminally ill HIV-Aids and tuberculosis patients. She immediately resigned and served notice until January.

"I was deeply touched and decided it was time to stay at home (Seshego in Polokwane) and help to care for these people," she said.

Her work at the hospice, nursing people suffering from chronic diseases, had prepared her for the task ahead.

Mokgaphane, 38, then met members of Liwib - Limpopo Women In Business - and they started discussing social challenges facing the province and how to help in the fight against HIV-Aids.

They visited affected families and she decided to establish the Tsoseletso Community Home Based Care Centre in February.

It is run from an RDP house in Seshego Extension 14 and belongs to one of the care-givers.

Though the centre does not have funds to sustain it, it already has 126 patients and 27 volunteers who work on a daily basis with no income.

Mokgaphane used her last money to get it off the ground. The mother of two is, however, worried they might lose some of the volunteers because they also have no income.

Mokgaphane said all she needed was day-to-day food supply for her patients and a bit for care-givers.

She has submitted an application to the provincial department of health and social development for assistance.

Department spokesman Phuti Seloba said yesterday Mokgaphane's application was not unique and had to go through the normal channels.

Anyone interested in assisting can call Mokgaphane on 072-226-5756 or call at the centre.