Josefina Amparo Hosena, 45, was recently awarded as one of Singapore’s 2017 Model Caregivers, along with 39 other individuals or families.
Five-year-old Leona Heng, Hosena’s charge, is suffering from Edward’s Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that leads to heart defects, growth deficiencies, and intellectual disability.
At night, Hosena would lay together with Heng and would wake every hour to replenish the young girl’s milk supply through her feeding tube after cleaning it. She needs to disconnect the tube carefully or run the risk of Leona waking up and not being able to return to sleep.
Aside from Hosena making sure that Leona is regularly fed through her tube, she must also be ready to respond should there be an emergency case, such as heart failure.
Hosena also brings Leona to wherever she goes to during her day off.
Marcus Heng, Leona’s father and a director at a corporate training company, said that taking care of Leona is more than just work for Hosena. “She puts her heart and soul into it. It’s challenging as she does not get enough sleep on some days.”
Started in 2007, the Model Caregiver Awards is organized by the National Council of Social Service, a local non-profit AWWA Caregiver Service, together with the Agency for Integrated Care, and in partnership with various charities.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor handed out some awards during the ceremony. She said that each recipient represents ‘a poignant tale of love and great sacrifice’.
She cited Hosena’s experience as an example that many domestic helpers in Singapore have been caring for their charges as if they were their own family.