Published Wednesday 1st July 2020

Princess Diana’s legacy and Hereford GP’s dedication marked in African hospice film

A COUNTY doctor who established Tanzania’s first hospice is continuing to raise funds for palliative care in a rural African community.

Her dedication remains in place eight years after the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund closed and she heard that her funding would end.

The closure of the fund brought an end to the work of many similar projects across the world, but the tireless efforts of Dr Karilyn Collins has ensured Muheza Hospice Care continues to make a difference.

Like Diana, Karilyn, who has received an MBE for her work in Africa, was passionate about helping improve the lives of disadvantaged people and changing opinions and attitudes to AIDS.

She was approached by the fund, which wanted to establish palliative care in Sub Saharan Africa, and offered a grant to set up a palliative care service in Tanzania.

Karilyn, who worked as a Herefordshire GP and a doctor at St Michael’s Hospice before moving to the Tanzanian town of Muheza, with its large rural community, said: “After visiting Africa and seeing the devastation AIDS and untreated cancer was having, I wanted to take a little bit of St Michael’s Hospice to the people suffering in remote and impoverished communities.”

Along with donations from Karilyn’s friends, Diana’s legacy helped fund a building and the £40,000-a-year running costs for the hospice.

The funding helped train some of Tanzania’s first health care professionals and provided thousands of people with physical, social, emotional and spiritual care.

Filmed in July 2017 this documentary offers a deeper understanding of the acute suffering faced by individuals and the compassion shown to them by the hospice staff.

The film also highlights how the hospice team is helping children born HIV-positive to lead full and healthy lives and to go on to have healthy, HIV-free children.

Made by a film crew from Hereford, which included ex-BBC Horizon production assistant Mary Taylor, and BBC apprentice Sol Smart.