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World Aids Day:

Executive President of Malteser Germany visits hospice in South Africa:

"Death is omnipresent!"

01 Dec 2005 16:43:00 GMT

Cologne/Mandeni. On the occasion of the World Aids Day on the 1st of December, the Executive President of Malteser Germany, Johannes Freiherr Heereman, has visited the Malteser hospice in Mandeni (South Africa). Providing 40 beds for patients, it is the largest hospice in Africa. On average, every second day a patient passes away, sometimes five patients die on one day. “Thanks to numerous volunteers and medical doctors specialized in palliative medicine, the patients here get the chance to die in dignity; the staff members take perfect care for them day and night. This hospice is an oasis of love and peace amidst an environment of hardship and despair”, Heereman states.

The hospice has been established by Rev. Father Gerhard Lagleder, member of the Order of Malta and Benedictine, who has been working in the missionary field for nearly 20 years already. His work in Mandeni is financially supported by Malteser groups from different countries. Malteser Germany, for example, pays for the medical drugs which will be required for the patients in the hospice in the year 2006. Heereman is shocked by the overall situation in the city of Mandeni: “Death is omnipresent in this city. This is not astounding since Mandeni holds the sad world record of having an HIV-positive testing toll of 76 %. One third of the total population of Mandeni is already infected with HIV.”

Heereman is filled with consternation in view of the fact that also a high number of children suffer from the disease. “More than 200,000 children become infected every year.“ Half of the 40 children living in the Malteser children’s home in Mandeni are infected. In the light of this hardship Heereman urgently asks for donations in order to finance medical drugs. Since: “Every human being in this world has the right to live and to die in dignity.”

More information about the Malteser hospice in Mandeni are available here: www.bbg.org.za

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