Interview of Fr. Martin Trieb O.S.B. with Dr. Paul Z.T. Thabethe

Can you tell us what kinds of sickness do you have to deal with in this centre and why are these diseases so prevalent here?

  1. The main sicknesses that we have to deal with in this Care Centre are firstly and foremost AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
  2. The second commonest illness is Tuberculosis, which is of course also related to AIDS.
  3. Thirdly we have to deal with people who have suffered strokes, they have been to hospital and have been discharged, but their relatives cannot deal with them at home. So we have to take them in and nurse them teach the families to continue with the nursing at home later on.
  4. Fourthly we also have to deal with people who are in the terminal stages of cancer and other diseases, where we have to give them hospice care, so that they can die in a peaceful place.
  5. Of course, we also have to deal with lots of other chronic illnesses where the people have been discharged from hospital but where they still need to be cared for which where they need nursing care on an on a long term basis and of course there is no there are no beds for them in the hospital. They cannot go home. The parents the relatives cannot cope with the illnesses and we have to nurse them. At the moment for example we have one with a very big ulcer, who was discharged from hospital. We have to nurse her until the wounds are healed.

When we start the causes for these illnesses, firstly let’s talk about AIDS:

  1. I think the first reason why we have such a high incidence of AIDS is ignorance. People are ignorant. They cannot read on their own in the newspapers and appreciate the danger which surrounds the whole issue of HIV and AIDS. As a result people still get infected. People do not take the proper precautions to protect themselves. So, I would say, ignorance is a very big factor.
  2. Secondly we have a lot of poverty around us. Poverty means people are not able to afford good food and of course then their body resistance is low. It is easy for the virus to attack them and I think that is also a very important issue.
  3. Of course, what causes poverty is unemployment in our area in the past we used to have lots of factories. People came from all over the country to get jobs. Most of the some of the factories many of the factories in fact have closed down. But you still have many of these people still in the area. They don’t have jobs, so they are poor and so the they cannot sustain themselves here you have vicious cycle: Poverty – Malnutrition – Low resistance – high incidents of infection.
  4. From the unemployment you also have another problem, because the young girls now they are out of work. So they have to prostitute to make a living as a result, of course, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases goes up and of course the AIDS epidemic is also speeded up in that way.
  5. Of course, also because of the fact that you have so many people who have come into this area we also have the problem of overcrowding, lack of homes for many people. They have to make shacks where they have to stay, and of course, you know, with overcrowding you have TB becomes rampant. Those are the main reasons why I think we have this epidemic of AIDS and TB in our area.

This page is part of "An everlasting brotherhood" - Preparations for a video film about the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard


Back to the homepage of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:19