Botswana’s Free Homeopathy Clinic

The Maun Homeopathy Project sends a series of volunteer homeopaths, two at a time, to work for a period of from 6 weeks to 6 months with AIDS sufferers in Botswana.

The project was started by Hilary Fairclough and Phillipa Brewster. The Maun Homeopathy Project (MHP) has set up a Homeopathy Clinic in Maun, a small town in the north of Botswana, where over 35% of the people are infected with HIV or AIDS, one of the highest rates in the world.

The epidemic has put this hitherto strong and confident democratic country into crisis and the Maun community, like the rest of the country, is suffering as a result. Everyone is affected and trying to cope with its daily devastating effects.

Maun has become a centre for the provision of medical and social care for people living in the town and its surrounding areas but more help and other approaches are desperately needed. Homeopathy can fill the gap with a holistic approach to healing which helps the existing stretched medical and counselling services.

The Maun Homeopathy Project aims to establish a permanent and free homeopathic service for people living in Maun with HIV and AIDS and/or traumatised by rape.
The project works in partnership with agencies in the local community. In addition to the clinic in Maun, it has a mobile clinic providing an outreach service for those most in need. HIV, malaria, TB, the side effects of drugs, rape trauma, bereavement and neglect are the type of cases taken on by the homeopaths, who work in pairs.

Excerpts from the MHP newsletters
At the Maun Counselling Centre we were greeted with the news that all their clients with HIV who had received homeopathic treatment during the Pilot Project have remained well. For example, Maria is someone who was very ill with HIV/AIDS then – she’d had a stroke and a very bad ear abscess, was depressed, weak, unable to work or even walk. We gave her three homeopathic treatments and at the end of our stay she’d just recovered enough to leave her home and visit the Support Group. Now, although she has some remaining facial paralysis, she is back at work as a cleaner, cheerful and able to support her family.

It is exciting to witness how flexible homeopathy can be, working alongside other services provided in Botswana and making a real difference to people suffering from HIV, AIDS, rape and trauma.

A rolling programme of experienced homeopaths has been arranged so that the clinics can remain open all year and it is clear that homeopathy is a highly valued, needed and important service here.

Since 1st October 2005 the outreach homeopathy clinics have been up and running thanks to the generous support of MHP donors and the commitment and hard work of volunteer homeopaths. Homeopaths have committed their time to work in pairs for as long as funds lastAt all the clinics there are queues of people waiting patiently for treatment. The MHP is reaching people most in need at the heart of the local communities in Maun.

We also do a lot of home visits to clients too ill to get to the clinics and thus we witness first hand the devastation that HIV brings to people – physical and emotional suffering, family breakdown, alcoholism and poverty. But homeopathy brings relief even in these terrible circumstances.

Homeopathy gives strength & hope
Malebogo is a woman aged 35 living with her unemployed husband and three children. She works as a maid and her very low income is the family’s only income source. She is HIV+ and recently has been feeling more and more weak and ill. Her main problem is a persistent cough, which keeps her awake all night and she is feeling exhausted. She also has marked weight-loss, recurring mouth ulcers, cramps and numbness in her legs and constipation. She says, ‘I worry a lot. It’s too much for me. My husband doesn’t work. It hurts inside, I’m depressed. At night when I wake I start thinking and get choked. Who’s going to look after the kids if I die? I think about dying.’

After three treatments her cough is gone, she is sleeping well and her other physical symptoms have gone. She is much more positive and full of energy. Her life is still very hard, but she smiles and says “My worries still come and go but they don’t stay. I worry about money and my daughter, but it’s life and I now have the strength to carry on.”

Kutlwano is a 28-year old HIV+ woman who used to work for a safari company until she became ill. Ironically this was when she started taking the anti-retroviral medication last March, as side-effects can be severe. She was afflicted by continuous and severe vomiting and diarrhoea, neither of which she’d had before. Despite being admitted into hospital on several occasions for rehydration by drip, her medication hasn’t been stopped or changed because her CD4 count has continued to rise. (The number of CD4 cells in the body can be measured by a simple blood test and indicate the functioning of the immune system. Healthy people have a CD4 count in the thousands, people with HIV have very low CD4 count; they are prescribed anti-retroviral drugs when their count drops below 200.) When we visited Kutlwano at home last week she was lying in bed, very weak, emaciated, and could hardly raise her head from the pillow to talk to us. She hadn’t been able to eat anything at all for the last five days as the vomiting had become so severe and was only able to tolerate sips of water. She said ‘I think about when I was well, working for myself. Now I’m like a young child being looked after. I feel very sad and worried. I’m very tired in my body, I need to rest but I can’t sleep at all.’ We prescribed a course of homeopathic remedies and visited her a week later. This time she greeted us standing at the door to her hut, smiling and well. The vomiting had stopped completely, the diarrhoea had reduced in severity and frequency, and she was now able to eat, sleep, walk to fetch water and cook for herself. Her treatment continues and she told us ‘I want to be OK, a strong woman and find work again.’

Training for the future
The MHP plans to train a couple of local people to become homeopaths, to make the Project sustainable. It is important that once trained they will be able to earn their living practising privately. To this end we are developing a small private practice in Maun.

The money earned goes straight towards the volunteer homeopaths’ living expenses. We are now the proud tenants of a small office in the main pharmacy in town, created by a local carpenter, who put up a couple of walls and fitted a door. Four chairs and one table later and a small clinic room was ours!

Staying in touch and supporting the MHP 
If you’d like to receive newsletters by email please email us at mhp@homeopathybotswana.com

You can follow developments on the MHP website, which is updated regularly: www.homeopathybotswana.com

The Maun Homeopathy Project is a registered charity (No. 1109958). It relies on your support. To continue our work we ask you to give generously. Our overheads are very low, so any donation goes directly to those in desperate need in Maun.

Please send donations to: The Maun Homeopathy Project, 37a Hartham Road, London N7 9JQ, Tel: 020 7607 3613. Thank you for helping us to help others.