Grantee details

Traveling Scholars Program Report

Penelope Mathe, MS

Travel date: August 16, 2016

Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 5th International African Palliative Care Conference

Origin: Johannesburg, South Africa / Destination: Kampala, Uganda

How was this meeting/activity helpful to you?

Attending the APCA Conference gave me an opportunity to learn more about palliative care, its challenges, opportunities and successes. One of the sessions that stood out for me was the session on Strategic advocacy for palliative care. Through this session I have learnt that as socio-economic situation changes around the world there is a need to come up with innovative ways of rendering this service. It was also interesting to see different poster presentations and posters which were done so creatively. I have learnt few lessons from other poster presenters about how to create a poster with impact.

How will you new knowledge & acquired skills help in furthering your work in hospice and palliative care in your program/city/ or country?

I have learnt the importance of advocacy. I am working with children who have life limiting illnesses. My plan of action going forward is to advocate for the rights of children who have no voice. During my poster presentation and interactions on the perceptions of parents about the children participation in paediatric palliative care with health care professionals it was very interesting to note that even though people are aware of the children’s rights their perception is that this right is not applicable in practice. Many reasons were cited for the lack of involving children in discussions regarding their care, some mentioned that they are very busy and they don’t have time to engage children in discussions during consultations. Some mentioned that they did not want to interfere in “family matters” their only engagement is with the parent not the child irrespective of the child age of maturity. Through these interactions I have noted a gap in practice where health care professional should also learn about communicating with children

How IAHPC Traveling Scholars Program be improved in order to help other future traveling scholars?

I think scholars should also be assisted with visa payment.

Narrative summary highlighting the needs and challanges you face

During the APCA conference I have also learnt the importance of research in palliative care. This has motivated and encouraged me to continue with my PhD in Social Work, my intention is to conduct research that will focus on paediatric palliative care. This research will assist in filling the gap in knowledge on issues of health care professionals, parent and child communication in paediatric palliative care. The challenge that I often encounter when working with children in palliative care is that children are not given the opportunity to participate or be involved in discussion regarding their care. I think through doing research about children’s rights in paediatric palliative care I will be able to create awareness on children’s issues and needs. I think the networking relationships that I have formed during the conference will be useful in terms of collaborating with other professionals in paediatric palliative care.