Tigist's Story

The Positive Economic Ripple Effects of Palliative Care


Tigist is a 40-year mother of four, living in Addis Ababa. She participated in a training through HelpAge and our local partner, Hospice Ethiopia on palliative care and support services available to older people. With the knowledge she gained through the training, Tigist now serves as a bridge between chronically ill older people in her community and local health care providers. She helps older people understand what health care and social services are available locally and will refer them to specific services such as hospice care.


palliative care, health and social services, elder care, economic development, income security


"Life has been difficult for my family. My husband, addicted to khat and alcohol, does not have a job and is unable to help me support our kids. I am on my own. To make money, I used to sell fire wood and do house work such as washing clothes and fetching water. But my income from these odd jobs was very inconsistent.

Luckily, a year ago, I got an opportunity to participate in a training on palliative care and the kinds of services available to older people with chronic illnesses. So far, I’ve helped connect 20 older people to the care services they need. It’s been very fulfilling to help those who are suffering. Many older people I work with are bedridden and in chronic pain. 

In exchange for completing the training and supporting older people in my community, I was provided funds to start a small street vending business. From the money I make selling vegetables and Injera (Ethiopian bread) at a stand close to my home, I’m able to earn enough to support my children. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity—it’s such a relief to be able to make ends meet."


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