Thousands of South Africans are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses each year. While many will experience severe pain, most will not have access to affordable pain medication. For those who die, many will do so without the basic human right of dying with dignity and without suffering.

Palliative care is an approach to medicine that aims to change this. In South Africa and many countries, hospice associations are the main providers of this life-changing care.

“Even if you going to die or even if you are dying you have to die with dignity, you have to die clean, you have to die free from pains, you have to die next to somebody who has given you support,” Zululand Hospice palliative care nurse Nokukhanya Makhanya tells Health-e News.

As Hospice Week concludes, Health-e News looks at what hospice has meant to patients in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

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